Miranshah: Hundreds of US-led coalition forces have again shifted, along with heavy arms, to Afghan areas bordering Pakistan’s North Waziristan Agency, according to a media report.
Pakistani security officials and tribesmen living in the border town of Ghulam Khan, adjacent to Afghanistan’s Khost province, said that the US forces had clamped curfew in Tarkhobi and adjoining villages and launched a major search operation in the area, The News reported.
The US and Afghan authorities had earlier asserted that the operation was directed against the Haqqani militant network.
It was the second time this week that the US-led NATO forces had moved in a big way to the area bordering Pakistan with heavy arms, including gunship helicopters, tanks and long-range artillery guns, locals were quoted as saying.
According to sources in the area, NATO and Afghan security forces had moved to Gurbaz district, close to Pakistan, last Sunday and established checkpoints and observation posts, the report said.
The border between the two neighbouring countries had been closed for traffic as well. However, US troops subsequently packed up all of a sudden and left the border area a few days later.
According to tribal sources, now more troops and arms had been moved to the border and curfew was clamped prior to the search operation, the report added.
The Gurbaz tribe, living on the Afghan side of the border, had been directed through loudspeakers to stay home until further orders following the imposition of curfew.
Some of the Gurbaz tribesmen crossed the border into North Waziristan through unfrequented routes and said that US troops had suspended cellular phone services in the area, the report said.
A Pakistani security official based in North Waziristan was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity that US forces had reached the border with Pakistan and established observation posts on hilltops.
Other officials said that NATO had started a major military operation in Afghan provinces along the border with Pakistan, and the latest surge of US troops near the border could be part of an offensive against the Afghan Taliban, particularly the Haqqani network.