CBSN

Pakistan, U.S. at Odds over Taliban Leader

(CBS/AP)
When President Barack Obama announced his decision to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan, he stressed that success in that region was "inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan."

But despite the rhetoric of increased cooperation on counter-terrorism, relations between the two nations appear to be frayed.

Pakistan has refused U.S. demands that it crack down on Siraj Haqqani, an Afghan Taliban militant leading insurgents against American forces but who also serves as an asset for Pakistani intelligence, according to a New York Times report Tuesday.

Haqqani uses the restive Pakistani region of North Waziristan as a safe haven and has been linked to senior al Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden, according to the report.

The U.S. has pressed the Pakistani military to turn on Haqqani, both in State Department messages and a follow-up meeting by Gen. David Petraeus. Pakistan's failure to cooperate could mean increased American drone attacks within their border, U.S. officials have reportedly told them.

According to the report, Pakistani officials are privately fuming over the increasing burden of their U.S. alliance and view Mr. Obama's new surge strategy with skepticism. In refusing to go after Haqqani, Pakistan may be preparing for a post-America Afghanistan – one in which regional powers like China, Russia and, especially, India will jockey for influence. In short, Pakistan may need Haqqani to shore up support among locals.

Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the head of Pakistan's military, has argued against going after Haqqani for short-term reasons: Pakistan has its hands full fighting its own Taliban in South Waziristan and can't afford to wage a second offensive against the Afghan Taliban, which moves in and out of North Waziristan.

Pakistani officials also say that because Haqqani spends so much time in Afghanistan, the U.S. could eliminate him there, without help from Pakistan, according to the report.