Islamabad: US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Leon Panetta, who arrived here on Friday on an unannounced visit, has said that it is important that Pakistan expands its military operations in the Tribal areas in order to target all the terror safe havens located inside the country’s geographical boundaries.
According to sources, Panetta, during his meeting with top military leaders, urged the officials to continue the momentum against the extremists and focus more on those extremists who frequently moved across the border and target US led allied forces in Afghanistan.
Panetta also held separate meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, The Daily Times reports.
Insiders said the CIA chief discussed at length issues regarding military-to-military cooperation and intelligence sharing to make joint efforts against terrorism more effective during his meeting with General Pasha.
Sources said Panetta was informed about the ‘security compulsions’ that must be kept in consideration while expanding the military operation in the Tribal region along the Afghan border.
He was told that any expansion of offensive in those areas would probably require shifting of troops from the eastern border with India, a move which is not feasible in the current scenario.
“Any expansion in military activity in these areas demands more troops and the possible relocation of some of troops from eastern borders, which is not possible in the existing security situation,” sources said.