White House press secretary Jay Carney. - Photo by AFP

WASHINGTON: The White House is refusing to endorse controversial criticism of Pakistan leveled by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen.

White House press secretary Jay Carney was asked about Mullen's claim in congressional testimony last week that the Haqqani insurgent network ''acts as a veritable arm'' of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

The comment has upset Pakistan and stirred concern among some US officials at a time when the US must work with Pakistan.

Carney said that Mullen's statement is ''not language I would use.''

But he said the comment is ''consistent with our position'' and tried to dismiss questions about it as a ''matter of semantics.''

Carney reiterated that the Haqqani network has safe havens in Pakistan and Pakistan needs to take action to address that.

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