Do not let Haqqani fighters resettle, US tells Pakistan

Haqqani fighters almost certainly fled ahead of military operation because it was pre-announced, says Jilani.

Reuters July 26, 2014

COLORADO: The United States (US) government urged Pakistan on Friday to prevent displaced Haqqani militants from returning to North Waziristan following an ongoing military offensive in the area.

"What we've asked for is that the Haqqanis, yes they've been displaced, yes they've been disrupted, but that they not be allowed to regroup and resettle back into those historical areas," said Jeffrey Eggers from the White House's National Security Council (NSC), speaking at a security forum in Colorado.

No one from the Haqqani network has been reported killed, however, since the offensive began in June in the remote region of North Waziristan.

The US has long pressed for action against the Haqqanis. Islamabad has said it would target any militants, including the Haqqanis, as they proceed with the military operation.

Pakistan's envoy to Washington Jalil Abbas Jilani, sitting alongside Eggers and others at the event, acknowledged that Haqqani fighters almost certainly fled the region ahead of the military operation because it was pre-announced.

But Jilani also urged more to be done across the border in Afghanistan to deal with any militants who may have fled there.

"We are having good cooperation but I think something more is required to be done in order to make sure that the successes... are conclusive," Jilani said.

John Allen, the retired four-star general who led US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, voiced skepticism about Islamabad's past willingness to go after the Haqqanis, even as he acknowledged the opportunity presented by the ongoing offensive.

US lawmakers warn that Pakistan will have to crackdown on the Haqqanis or lose millions in US military aid.

"What matters now is how this continues and whether or not the Haqqanis are afforded a sanctuary to return to when the operation gets into its terminal phase," said Eggers, the senior director for Afghanistan and Pakistan at the NSC.