Pak's operation against militants in North Waziristan to 'spare' Haqqani Network
Washington, Aug 14 (ANI): Despite being pressurized by the United States and its own assurance to act against militants inhabiting its safe havens, Pakistan has hinted at launching combat operations only against the Taliban, conveniently sparing the Haqqani Network.
According to U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, discussed the planned operation in recent conversations with the top American commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen.
Panetta, however, added that the main target of the operation would be the Pakistani Taliban, and not the Haqqani Network, reports the Wall Street Journal.
He said Gen. Allen and Kayani have "discussed concerns" about the Haqqanis, whose fighters have moved back and forth across the border to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
Haqqani leaders fled to Pakistan's North Waziristan region from their homeland in eastern Afghanistan following the U.S.-led invasion in 2001.
Panetta said he did not know when the Pakistani operation would start, but he said he understands it will be in the "near future".
Panetta welcomed Gen. Kayani's initiative, even though the main target may not be the Haqqani leadership, saying he had previously "lost hope" that Pakistan's military would take action in the North Waziristan tribal area.
"They've talked about it for a long time. Frankly, I'd lost hope that they were going do anything about it. But it does appear that they in fact are going to take that step."
He said relations with the Pakistani military have improved "a great deal" lately, after a falling out over U.S. air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, followed by Pakistan's closing of the NATO supply routes into Afghanistan. (ANI)
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