WASHINGTON: The United States will provide Pakistan with more military, intelligence and economic aid, even though some officials feel it is not doing enough to combat militants, The Washington Post reported late Friday.
The newspaper said Vice President Joseph Biden would take that message to Pakistan when he visits next week.
The report came as a barrage of US missiles killed up to four to five people officials described as militants in the North Waziristan tribal district on Friday, destroying a vehicle.
US officials want Pakistan to launch a ground offensive in North Waziristan to eliminate the militant threat. The United States does not confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the unmanned aircraft in the region.
In 2010 the campaign doubled missile attacks in the tribal area, with around 100 drone strikes that have killed more than 650 people, according to an AFP tally.
The Pakistani government has publicly condemned drone attacks stating that they stoke anti-American sentiment, but cables released by WikiLeaks recently revealed that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had allowed drone strikes, saying they would protest the attacks in the National Assembly and then ignore them. US officials say drone strikes have severely weakened al Qaeda’s leadership.
Pakistan has long been under pressure by the US to launch a military offensive in North Waziristan, but has stalled on launching a ground offensive in North Waziristan, saying its troops are overstretched. The Foreign Office however denies being under US pressure to launch an offensive in the northwestern region saying that the operation will be launched only if it is in Pakistan’s ‘interest’.
In November, The Express Tribune reported that the government had authorised Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to take a final decision on when and how to launch a military operation in the North Waziristan tribal region.
According to The Post, Biden will challenge Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Kayani and other Pakistani officials to articulate their long-term strategy for the region. He will want them to indicate exactly what assistance is needed for them to move against Taliban sanctuaries in areas bordering Afghanistan.
But US President Barack Obama and his top national security aides have rejected proposals from some military and intelligence officials to let US ground forces conduct raids against insurgent safe havens, the paper said. They concluded that the United States could ill afford to threaten or further alienate Pakistan whose cooperation is essential to the administration on several fronts, the report pointed out.
Munter denies US pressurising Pakistan
US ambassador for Pakistan Cameron Munter has denied the impression that the US is pressing Pakistan to launch an operation in North Waziristan.
He was talking to the media in Islamabad. Munter also said that the US will not hesitate to play its role on the Kashmir issue, if possible.
He also admitted that Washington made a mistake by leaving Pakistan alone in the Afghan War.
The US ambassador said his country wants long term ties with Pakistan. He also expressed condolences over the murder of late governor Punjab Salmaan Taseer.
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