Taliban: 'We're Too Busy in Afghanistan' to Work with Pakistan

The son of the most notorious mujahedeen-turned Taliban military leader is denying the CIA's claim that the Pakistani intelligence agency is working with the Taliban to destabilize Afghanistan.

"Afghan mujahedeen are so busy in their war against the westerners, that they don't have the time or the need to go to Pakistan. If we ever needed or hoped for the government's cooperation, then we would have done this. We have neither the hope nor the need," Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of Taliban commander Maulvi Jalaluddin Haqqani, told ABC News in an interview.

"We in Afghanistan, by the grace of God, don't need them. Our needs in Afghanistan are fulfilled. We are self-sufficient in Afghanistan," the younger Haqqani told ABC News consultant Rahimullah Yusufzai in Khost, Afghanistan, just across the border from Pakistan.

The Haqqani network is one of the most notorious of the militant groups that the U.S. believes is attacking forces in Afghanistan. Haqqani himself was one of the CIA's favorite mujahedeen leaders during the war with the Soviet Union in the late 1980s, at one point capturing Khost, the city where the interview with his son took place.

Today, officials say his network is behind some of the largest attacks in Afghanistan in the last year, including the storming of the Serena Hotel and an assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The networks, U.S. officials believe, give the Taliban more resources and greater sophistication in their targeting of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan.

Sirajuddin Haqqani echoed those fears in the interview.

"It's beyond count," he said when asked how many fighters were loyal to him and his father. "Now tribes have arisen. When we tell them we want 1,000 people, they send 1,000 people. When we ask for 100, they send 100. Now, it's beyond count. It's on a big scale."

But despite those resources, he claimed there is no Taliban campaign being waged in Pakistan. "Our brothers mujahedeen in Pakistan, we have a spiritual relationship with them. But we do not interfere in their internal affairs. Our policy is clear. All our attention is on Afghanistan."

Earlier this month C.I.A. official Stephen Kappes traveled to Islamabad to confront the government with new information that the U.S. says links Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence to militant groups -- including the one that the Haqqanis run -- operating on both sides of the border. His trip was first reported by "The New York Times".

The U.S. -- not to mention Afghanistan and India -- has been increasingly vocal about the Taliban in Pakistan launching attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. More soldiers are dying in Afghanistan than in Iraq, and the number of attacks on NATO forces increased by 40 percent over the last year in the region east of Kabul. The U.S. thinks the Pakistan government's attempts to make peace with militants in the Northwest Frontier Province are endangering U.S. soldiers' lives.

But it's new that the U.S. is pointing its finger at the Pakistani I.S.I., so powerful it's often referred to as a "state within a state."

Even President Bush reportedly raised the spy agency with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani during their White House meeting on Monday, according to Pakistan's Defense Minister, who told reporters in Islamabad today that Bush questioned whether the spy agency was leaking information to terrorists before U.S. attacks.

"We know the Pakistani intelligence service is in some cases in bed with these groups," Bruce Reidel of the Brookings Institution told ABC News' Jonathan Karl, "or at a minimum turning a blind eye to their activities."

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