Clinton confirms US outreach to Haqqani network

By MATTHEW LEE | October 24, 2011 | 4:38 AM EDT

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is confirming that American officials have reached out to the Haqqani militant network to test its interest in peace talks. Her comments come even as the U.S. is demanding that Pakistan do more to crack down on the network.

Clinton is the first American official to publicly acknowledge the Haqqani outreach, which was reported in August by The Associated Press. Clinton said Friday the meeting was organized by Pakistan's intelligence service and was considered preliminary — to see if the Haqqanis would show up.

She said the U.S. wanted to work with Afghanistan and Pakistan to develop a sequence for actual negotiations. She gave no other details but stressed that only militants willing to meet conditions would be allowed to reconcile with society.