After weeks of confusion regarding Sirajuddin Haqqani’s interview with Reuters, in which he claimed that the Haqqani network was no longer active in Pakistan, a senior Nato official has confirmed a marked increase in infiltration in Afghanistan by the militant group, CNN reported.
There has been a significant increase in the Haqqani network’s activity in Khost, Paktia, Logar and Wardak provinces which are used in that order as an infiltration route from Pakistan, to launch attacks on the capital, the official said. The senior Nato official spoke to reporters in Kabul on the condition no name was used.
In an earlier interview, Sirajuddin was quoted as saying, “Gone are the days when we were hiding in the mountains along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Now we consider ourselves more secure in Afghanistan besides the Afghan people. Senior military and police officials are with us.”
The senior official went on to add that assistance to the Afghan security forces along the border with Pakistan by Nato and the US would depend on “the level of threat coming out of Miramshah” in North Waziristan, where the network leaders are allegedly based.
The official said Haqqani militants were behind a series of “spectacular attacks”, this summer.
Nato officials said there had also been a marked increase in the number of cross border attacks from Pakistan, but insisted reports were often overstated.
Isaf troops respond to all reports by deploying surveillance assets, the official explained, CNN reported.
The official added that the problem had intensified due to insurgents reoccupying safe havens inside Afghanistan.
While most of cross-border attacks are launched by insurgents, he said there was genuine confusion as to where the border lies.
“We’ll get the maps out and there will be differences of multiples of kilometers of where they think the border is,” the official said, CNN reported.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2011.