Pakistan may delay Taliban operation

Monday, November 22, 2010

ISLAMABAD - A military offensive in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region bordering Afghanistan could be delayed due to “the widening role of India in the Afghan affairs” and the “differences in perceptions” over the scheduled withdrawal of NATO forces from that country, a media report said Monday.

The Pakistani government might delay the offensive by another four to six months, contrary to the expectations of the Pentagon, the Express Tribune said.

According to the daily, a government source, requesting anonymity, gave several reasons for the delay, including differences in perceptions over scheduled withdrawal of NATO troops, the peace plan of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the widening role of India in the Afghan affairs.

The source said that taking the ongoing war in the federally administered tribal areas and other regions to its logical conclusion is the first and foremost priority for the army.

The recent developments in the region, particularly in the wake of US President Barack Obamas visit to India, have forced Islamabad to think twice before opening another war front in North Waziristan, the daily quoted a former diplomat, who wished not to be named, as saying.

After the Dec 30, 2009, suicide bombing at a CIA base in Afghanistan’s Khost province and the May 1, 2010, failed car bomb attack in New Yorks Times Square, Pakistan has been under intense pressure from the US to launch an offensive in North Waziristan.

The military has pledged to go after militants in North Waziristan, an area that has become the epicentre of terrorism, President Obamas top military adviser said in an interview last month.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said Pakistans army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has given assurances that he would launch the offensive that the US has long called for in North Waziristan.

The source added that the Pakistan Army was fully engaged with its war against Taliban and militants in Orakzai, Tirah Valley of Khyber Agency, Swat, Central Kurram and other parts of the region.

Filed under: Terrorism

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