US met Haqqani network: Clinton

Islamabad: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday said the US did not intend to act unilaterally against militant groups inside Pakistan even as she acknowledged that American officials had held one exploratory meeting with the Haqqani network.

Clinton made the remarks during a round table discussion with a small group of Pakistani television journalists following her meetings with the country`s top civil and military leadership. Asked if the US had plans for any military operations against groups like the Haqqani network that are based in Pakistan`s tribal belt, Clinton replied: "We don`t want to act unilaterally, we want to act in concert with our friends, our partners, our strategic allies in Pakistan.

"But we don`t want there to be any misunderstanding that we have to act, otherwise there will be perhaps an incident in the future that takes it out of the hands of any President," she said. Clinton further acknowledged that the issue of US carrying out operations with ground troops within Pakistan "may have been raised" during her meetings with Pakistani leaders "but it was not at all considered". She said the US had held an exploratory meeting with representatives of the Haqqani network.

Clinton did not give details about who was involved or where they met. "In fact, the Pakistani government officials helped to facilitate such a meeting," she told the round table discussion. She made it clear that the US was not engaged "in any kind of negotiations" with the Haqqanis. "We`ve had one preliminary meeting just to see if they would show up," she said.