Pakistan looks to restrict Haqqanis’ movement

Published: November 2, 2011

Army not prepared to directly confront the network but will tighten border security. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The United States, it seems, has been successful in winning Pakistan’s support to curtail the Haqqani network.

In what appears to be a significant development, the Pakistan Army is planning measures to restrict the network’s movement at the Afghan border as part of an understanding reached with the US.

At least two senior security officials confirmed that the military has decided not only to restrict the movement of all militant groups, including the deadliest Afghan Taliban insurgents, but also deny them space within Pakistan’s borders.

“We will play our part while coalition forces will stop infiltration from across the border,” said a Pakistani military official.

However, officials refused to divulge details of the plan and it could not be independently verified since media does not have access to border areas.

The move, if confirmed, will be seen as a departure from the security establishment’s years-old approach towards the Haqqanis. Washington has long demanded that Pakistani military go after the Haqqanis, believed to be operating from the Pak-Afghan borders areas in North Waziristan.

But this change on Pakistan’s part does not mean the army will directly confront the group, which the country believes will have a vital role in any future political dispensation in Afghanistan.

These new border security measures are believed to be the result of a deal that was struck between Islamabad and Washington during US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent visit to Pakistan.

Under the agreement, the US is no longer asking for a full-scale military offensive against the Haqqani network in return for Pakistan’s commitment to ‘take care’ of the group by using means other than an operation. This includes tightening border security to keep a check on the movement of the Haqqanis and persuading them to come to the negotiating table with the US.

Media reports emanating from Washington also indicate a new approach by the Obama administration on the Haqqani network.

The New York Times quoted a senior US official as saying that Clinton did not use her meeting to convince the Pakistani military to mount an offensive to root out the Haqqanis and other militants allegedly operating from sanctuaries in North Waziristan. “Instead, the administration says, it is pressing the Pakistanis to provide intelligence on the Haqqanis, arrest some of the group’s operatives and reduce ties to the terrorist group – all steps well short of military action,” the official said. “We’re at the point where Pakistanis have told us they’re going to squeeze the Haqqani network.”

When approached, Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major-General Athar Abbas did not speak of any specific plan but reiterated that Pakistan has a stated policy not to allow its territory to be used against any third country, including Afghanistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 2nd, 2011.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • ashok sai
    Nov 2, 2011 - 10:08AM

    Same old tactic to get loans sanctioned, but you cannot fool everybody all the times.

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  • Amazed
    Nov 2, 2011 - 11:16AM

    Written slapdash after the NY Times report on how Haqqanis roam freely in and from Pakistan. :)

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  • Minhas
    Nov 2, 2011 - 1:35PM

    ISPR
    “Pakistan has a stated policy not to allow its territory to be used against any third country, including Afghanistan”
    Slaves.

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  • Human
    Nov 2, 2011 - 2:27PM

    @ Ashok Sai, I know your country is doing it for free. Pak has right to choose the weapon and the technique suits for them, You just watchRecommend

  • Pundit
    Nov 2, 2011 - 2:35PM

    New Diplomatic Terminology:
    ++++++++++++++++++++++

    Squeeze: as in squeezing the neck or squeezing the palm

    US strategy : “fight, talk , squeeze and build”

    (Women excluded from this strategy.)

    Recommend

  • Aftab Kenneth Wilson
    Nov 3, 2011 - 7:33PM

    Of course this will not be done in letter and spirit. Dragging feet will be seen as usual.Recommend

  • csmann
    Nov 3, 2011 - 11:11PM

    let’s hope it is not “looking away” from as always.

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  • gp65
    Nov 4, 2011 - 2:01AM

    “Inter-Services Public Relations Director General Major-General Athar Abbas did not speak of any specific plan but reiterated that Pakistan has a stated policy not to allow its territory to be used against any third country, including Afghanistan”.

    Stated poicy. Observed in breach rather than pratice – particularly against India.

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  • Nov 4, 2011 - 3:47PM

    @ Pundit: What about India training LTTE at seven different camps and causing death of 100,000 Sri lankans in a civil war?

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