Pak dumps military offensive plans against TTP

Overlooking US demands, Pak Govt has abandoned plans to launch a military offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), as per a magazine.

Updated: Aug 29, 2009, 18:15 PM IST

Lahore: Overlooking the American demands, the Pakistan Government has abandoned plans to launch a military offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP), according to Time magazine.
Although the group`s top commando Baitullah Mehsud is said to be dead in a missile strike, the Pakistani military has concluded that a ground attack on its strongholds in South Waziristan would be too difficult, the Daily Times reports.

Despite a clear message from the US urging a military campaign, the Pakistan government is hoping to exploit divisions within the TTP to prize away some factions.

US counter-terrorism officials worry that a failure to capitalise on the post-Baitullah confusion within the TTP will allow its new leader, Hakeemullah Mehsud, to consolidate his position and reorganise the organisation.

Officials in Washington say special envoy Richard Holbrooke and NATO commander General Stanley McChrystal have both pressed Islamabad to strike while the iron is hot.

The report quoted a senior politician as saying that there will be no ground assault at all. Instead, he says, the military will try and buy off some TTP factions through peace deals.

This alarms US officials, who point out that Taliban leaders have previously used peace deals to expand their influence.

"Such deals have been abject failures that, at the end of the day, have made the security situation in parts of Pakistan worse. Why the Pakistani government keeps returning to this strategy is a mystery," says a US counter-terrorism official.