Haqqani potential target for Abbottabad-like raid: Report

Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani terror network is a potential target for a Abbottabad-like hit, US officials have warned.

Updated: May 18, 2011, 15:40 PM IST

New York: Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the
Haqqani terror network is a potential target for a Abbottabad-like hit, US officials have warned, as reports indicated that the network`s inner circle fled their compounds in Pakistan as the raid on Osama bin Laden became public.

Wall Street Journal quoted a tribal Pushtun elder with
ties to the clan as saying that, "Haqqanis are worried", and
the group has been alarmed by the persistent CIA drone strikes
and the killing of bin Laden.

In one indication that the group said to be close to
Pakistan`s military establishment is worried, the elder said
was that they emptied their compounds in North Waziristan`s
capital, Miran Shah, in the days following the daring American
raid that killed bin Laden.

The paper said that the group may be wanting to talk
now and Pakistan`s spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence
(ISI) is trying to convince that the insurgent Haqqani network
should be allowed to join Afghan peace talks, but the US is
strongly opposing such a move.

Even though the Haqqani network has not been
designated as a foreign terrorist organisation, the US has
slapped sanctions against its three top commanders.

The US has been alleging that the ISI is directly
supporting the Haqqani network.

"Pakistan`s intelligence service is pressing the
Haqqani network of insurgents to join nascent Afghan peace
talks, even as US officials demand an offensive against the
group, highlighting tensions between the two nations two weeks
after the US infuriated officials here with the raid that
killed Osama bin Laden," The Wall Street Journal said.

The paper quoting American officials said that the
group`s chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is based in Pakistan`s
North Waziristan tribal area, is a potential target for a raid
like the one that killed bin Laden.

But US officials said they want to spare Pakistan from
the embarrassment caused after the killing of bin Laden, and
would rather like Pakistan to get Haqqani.

The Obama Administration has threatened more drone
attacks and raids unless Pakistan moves swiftly against
militants such as the Haqqani network.

"ISI has resisted taking on the Haqqani network. It
now wants the group to explore a role in Afghan peace talks,
say Pakistani officials and tribal elders with ties to the
group, suggesting Pakistan is unlikely to heed the US warning
that it must act soon," the financial daily reported.

However, US is opposed to the idea of talks with the
Haqqani network.

"The Haqqanis haven`t been included in recent efforts
to open talks with the main Taliban leadership, headed by
Mullah Omar," US officials said.

"I don`t see any evidence that makes me think Haqqani
is a guy we`re going to want to be talking to," a US official
was quoted as saying.