Haqqani network shifts base to Khurram ahead of Pak offensive

Haqqani Network has been preparing an alternative safe haven for itself in Kurram agency.

Washington: Apparently anticipating an impending Pakistan Army offensive on its stronghold of north Waziristan, the dreaded Haqqani network has been preparing an alternative safe haven in the Khurram agency, a US report said.

"The Haqqani Network has been preparing an alternative
safe haven for itself in Kurram agency to the north, in the
event of a Pakistani operation in North Waziristan," the
American Enterprise Institute said in a report.

The security think tank said the possible Pakistani
military strike would be "fraught with complications, and
likely unsatisfying to those who expect such operations to
have a significant impact on the war in Afghanistan."

The think-tank said the Haqqani network and few other
militant groups would not be the target "this time too" of the
Pakistani Army campaign, preparations for which are in launch
stages.

"Expectations of the outcomes of the possible
Pakistani operations need to be tempered, however. Any
operations conducted in North Waziristan will likely not be
comprehensive, and will probably target only certain militant
groups and limited areas in the agency," the report said.

The report is significant as it implies that the
Pakistan Army or its intelligence has tipped off the Haqqani
network, who are now shifting base to Khurram agency, where
the Pakistani forces have already undertaken flushing out
operations in the last two years."Even so, a Pakistani offensive should receive
American encouragement and support. An operation would be a
major, if belated, step by the Pakistani military. It should
come as no surprise that Pakistan will specifically target the
groups that pose the biggest threat to Pakistan rather than
those that target US troops in Afghanistan," it said.

"But those groups Pakistan will target are also
significant threats to the US. The TTP has launched attacks
inside Afghanistan and on the US homeland, and continues to
express its desire to attempt such attacks in the future," it
said.

The TTP and its allies, including al Qaeda, have built
up a significant physical infrastructure in and around Mir Ali
that stands to be destroyed by any military operation, the
report said adding that the massive relocation and
resettlement of militant networks that would follow a military
offensive would likely have a disruptive effect on their
operations, at least for a while.

PTI

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