Pakistan military plans to open new front: Panetta

Says Gen Kayani discussed operation in recent talks with Isaf commander.


Agencies August 15, 2012

WASHINGTON:


US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said that Pakistan was prepared to launch combat operations against Taliban militants in North Waziristan Agency, which also serves as a haven for the al Qaeda-affiliated Haqqani network.


According to Panetta, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani discussed the planned operation in recent conversations with the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen John Allen.

The defence secretary told a news agency he did not know when the Pakistani operation would start, but he understands it will be in the “near future,” and that the main target will be the Pakistani Taliban, rather than the Haqqani network.  He welcomed Gen Kayani’s initiative, even though the main target may not be the Haqqani leadership.

“They’ve talked about it for a long time. Frankly, I’d lost hope that they were going to do anything about it. But it does appear that they in fact are going to take that step.”

The US has long been frustrated by Islamabad’s refusal to target Afghan Taliban militants and their allies.

However, speculations about the possibility of an operation in North Waziristan have been rife, especially in the wake of Director-General Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam’s visit to the US. Many analysts believe Pakistan is reluctant to target groups with which it has strong historical ties and could be useful allies after foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

On Monday, while addressing the Azadi Parade in Kakul, Gen Kayani renewed the military’s commitment to fighting against terrorism.

“We realise that the most difficult task for any army is to fight against its own people. But this happens as a last resort. Our real objective is to restore peace in these areas so that people can lead normal lives,” he said, adding, “No state can afford a parallel system or a militant force.”

No joint operation: security officials

Senior security officials have dismissed speculations about a joint Pak-US operation in North Waziristan as ‘baseless’ and ‘absurd’.

One of the senior security officials, requesting anonymity, vehemently rejected the possibility of any ISI-CIA joint operation codenamed ‘Tight Screw’ in North Waziristan through which boots on ground has been accepted by Islamabad.

Sharing further details regarding ISI chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam’s visit to the US, the officer said, “Pakistan does not support the Haqqani network for their operations inside Afghanistan”.

With additional reporting by asad kharal in lahore

Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2012.

COMMENTS (13)

Sultan Ahmed | 9 years ago | Reply

Surge in assassination of leading local and national official/leaders surge in increasing cross border attacks,stake holders compelled to take crucial military action.

Unleashed policy of the Taliban brought Pakistan to the agreed point where aggressor already waiting her. Two nuclear armed states has decided to go behind them to the last extent.

Circumstances of the region is going to change its direction.

Sultan Ahmed | 9 years ago | Reply

There is great difference in between Pakistan and American interests in the region. American policy regarding Afghanistan has no similarity with Pakistan\s policy Confrontation in between parted their ways leading to different destinations.

In view of its withdrawal,United States seeks harmless repatriation from Afghanistan for this purpose Afghan Army being trained and negotiation as a best option has been undertaken.Pakistan has also been requested to providing assistance,Pakistan inclined on it. Afghanistan is a neighboring country so it is very hard for Pakistan take any step which instigate Taliban against it and they start insurgency inside the country.

On the indication, military action is being started in Waziristan and Shawal districts that is not favorable it would create more carnage and insurgency because Taliban's credibility can not be overlooked.They have faced and facing decade long war with Nato and American forces.

The efforts are admirable through which Taliban are being invited to the negotiating table, Take holders should honor their justified demands,such as release of all Taliban prisoners from American and Pakistani jails.

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