WASHINGTON: The operation Pakistan launched in Fata six weeks ago has succeeded in disrupting the militant groups that operated from North Waziristan, US officials say.

The officials, who spoke to The Los Angeles Times, however, warned that it’s still early to determine if the operation would achieve its targets.

The proof of the operation’s success, they said, would be whether groups such as the notorious Haqqani network were allowed to reconstitute themselves in North Waziristan or elsewhere and again plotted attacks against US-led forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere.


Know more: No US involvement in Fata operation


The report claimed that in the past Pakistan had ignored groups like the Haqqanis or allowed them to return.

The newspaper reported that in a series of meetings with senior Pakistani officials this month, Obama administration officials pressed Pakistan to ensure the group did not escape the current operation.

“We keep telling them they must go after all the terrorists and that they cannot cherry-pick,” a senior US official told the newspaper. “We’ve been quite emphatic about that.”

Pakistani officials, however, assured their American counterparts that no insurgent groups would be spared in the offensive, which began in mid-June, the report.

But Pakistani officials also acknowledged that some insurgents fled the area before the start of the offensive because of the wide media coverage the operation received.

US officials, however, had not received photographs or other visual evidence from Pakistan showing it had directly targeted the Haqqani network, the report added.

US military officials regard the Haqqani network as one of the most experienced insurgent groups fighting in Afghanistan. The group, led by Sirajuddin Haqqani, is under the umbrella of the Afghan Taliban but is seen as being more closely linked to Al Qaeda’s central leadership.

Last week, a spokesman for the Afghan intelligence service, the National Directorate of Security, alleged that Pakistan’s security establishment had shifted Haqqani fighters to safe places before the operation began.

At a news conference the next day, Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry urged Afghanistan to take action against militants fleeing over the border from Pakistan.

“It is … our expectation that action would be taken on the Afghan side to check the fleeing terrorists and not to allow Afghan territory to be used by anti-Pakistan elements,” Mr Chaudhry said.

Tribal leaders, who spoke to the Times, said the Haqqanis and other groups fled North Waziristan in the days before the operation began. Many fighters have taken refuge in other areas of North Waziristan, including Datta Khel and in the thickly forested Shawal valley, the report claimed.

Published in Dawn, Aug 2nd , 2014

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