Pakistan hits back at US criticism in Kabul attack

By the Associated Press | September 15, 2011 | 8:15 AM EDT

A military helicopter belonging to coalition forces flies around a building during a gun battle with Taliban militants in Kabul, Afghanistan on Wednesday Sept. 14,2011. The 20-hour insurgent attack in the heart of Kabul ended Wednesday morning after a final volley of helicopter gunfire as Afghan police ferreted out and killed the last few assailants who had taken over a half-built downtown building to fire on the nearby U.S. Embassy and NATO compounds. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan is hitting back at U.S. criticism of Islamabad's failure to pursue the Haqqani militant network blamed for this week's attack on U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other U.S. officials expressed frustration with Pakistan over its reluctance to target the group, which maintains safe havens in Pakistan.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua said on Thursday that Panetta and others were "out of line with the cooperation that exists between the two countries in the war against terrorism."

Islamabad has resisted attacking the Haqqanis because they do not pose a direct threat to Pakistan.

The Pakistani army also believes it will be able to use the group to secure its interests in Afghanistan once Americans leave.