A senior military official says Pakistan will consider mounting an anti-Taliban offensive in North Waziristan, but other tribal areas would first need to be stabilized. This stance might upset Washington, let's see more.
A senior military commander said on Tuesday that Pakistan will consider mounting an anti-Taliban offensive in North Waziristan only when other tribal areas are stabilized. This stance may anger Washington, Pakistan’s ally.
The Haqqani Taliban faction is considered one of the most dangerous forces fighting American troops over the border in Afghanistan.
Pakistan has so far resisted mounting U.S. pressure to launch a major offensive against the faction in North Waziristan. Doing so would make no strategic sense for Pakistan because it sees the al Qaeda-linked group as an asset which can help it counter the growing influence of arch-enemy India in Afghanistan.
Lt.General Asif Yasin Malik, the main military commander for the northwest, says it would take at least six months to fully clear militants from Bajaur and Mohmand, just two of Pakistan's seven tribal agencies, described as global hubs for militants.
[Lt. General Asif Yasin Malik, Main Military Commander, Northwest Pakistan]:
"What we have to do, we have to stabilize the whole area. I have a very large area in my command. So I must stabilize the other areas, and then maybe look at North Waziristan."
The U.S. announced $2 billion in military aid for Pakistan last week.
In March, Pakistan launched what it considers a successful campaign in Orakzai, described by officials as the Taliban’s nerve center in Pakistan.
The army is getting villagers involved in efforts to keep the Taliban from returning by providing some of them with rifles.
A local elder says traces of the militants in the Orakzai region needed to be eliminated by the army before moving on.