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Pakistan rejects US demand for NWA military operation

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has firmly turned down renewed US demands for a full-scale military operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) against the Haqqani network allegedly based there, and blamed by Washington for recent coordinated attacks in Kabul and other parts of Afghanistan.

The Obama administration resumed pressure on Islamabad for military action in North Waziristan. 

The demand was first made by US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter during his meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar which took place after the Kabul attacks, followed by a telephone call from US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her Pakistani counterpart. 

Besides, official sources say that the US also conveyed the demand to the Pakistan Army leadership through military channels. However, Pakistan has once again refused to budge to US pressure for launching a military offensive in North Waziristan, where the Obama administration believes that senior Taliban leader Siraj Haqqani is hiding, along with his fighters.

US Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan C Crocker also blamed the Haqqani network on Thursday for conducting coordinated attacks in Kabul and other cities. Talking to reporters in Kabul, he demanded Pakistan to crack down on what he called “Haqqani safe havens” in Pakistan. “There is no question in our minds that the Haqqanis were responsible for these attacks. 

We know where their leadership lives and we know where these plans are made in Pakistan,” he said. A Pakistani diplomat seeking anonymity, however, rejected US allegations, saying that everything that happens in Kabul is not planned in Pakistan’s tribal belt. 

“There might be Taliban fighters present in North Waziristan and other tribal areas, but blaming those people for every bad thing that happens in Afghanistan seems to have become the Americans’ habit now,” he said, while ruling out the possibility of a new military offensive in North Waziristan. 

A security official, who also sought anonymity, confirmed that the US was exerting increasing pressure on Pakistan for a new military offensive. However, he too rejected the likelihood of any such offensive, saying that would put too much burden on Pakistani security forces already overstretched due to ongoing operations in areas such Khyber and Orakzai agencies.

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