ISLAMABAD  - The US Embassy in Islamabad has denied assertions attributed to Brigadier General Stephen Twitty, a spokesman for US forces in Afghanistan that the United States is willing to surrender Afghan territory as part of a rapprochement with the Haqqani network and that the US sees the Haqqani network playing an important role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan, terming them false.

In a clarification, the Embassy said these comments, attributed to a senior American military official are inconsistent with the US policy.  Further, only the Government of Afghanistan has the authority to take political steps on behalf of the Afghan people, it further added. Earlier, it was reported that the US is eager to seek a rapprochement with the Haqqani Network, and is willing not only to engage the group in talks, but also to give it an important role in the future political dispensation of Afghanistan, a senior American military official had said. According to the official, the US would hand over the control of three Afghan provinces to the Haqqanis if they agree to withdraw their support for the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan. The Haqqani network, led by warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, is blamed for most of the deadliest attacks against the US-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.  This is not the first time Washington showed its willingness to cut a deal with the Haqqanis. Following the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001, the US had offered Jalaluddin Haqqani top positions – but he opted to fight them.

 The Haqqanis are considered crucial for the success of the Taliban insurgency.

The top US. military official acknowledged that the Haqqani Network was posing a real threat to the NATO /ISAF mission in Afghanistan.

“Our objective is very clear that we want to dismantle the ability of the Haqqanis to target foreign forces in Afghanistan. If this can be done by bringing them to the negotiating table, we won’t mind that,” he added.