Washington: The United States may mount special operations to strike Taliban and al Qaeda targets in Pakistan and also step up drone attacks against them in the
near future, according to an American intelligence thinktank.
Contending that the bulk of al Qaeda leadership is now in Pakistan and not in Afghanistan, the Stratfor in its annual security forecast said, this could prompt "Increased cross-border US military activity ? mostly drone strikes, but also Special Forces Operations - will be a defining characteristic of the conflict in the area in 2010".
Pakistan is near "breakpoint," it said as both jihadist and Americans were now operating on its soil, and "thus it is here, not Afghanistan, where the nature of war is shifting".
Pakistan is depending on US sponsorship and aid to maintain balance of power with India, Stratfor said, and this would put pressure on Islamabad to find ways to meet the
expectations of the Obama Administration.
"Pakistan needs to find a way to manage US expectations that does not rupture bilateral relations.
"Allowing or encouraging limited attacks on NATO supply lines running through Pakistan to Afghanistan is one option, as it sends Washington a message that too much pressure on Islamabad will lead to problems for the effort in Afghanistan," Stratfor said.
It said a better tool for Pakistan is to share intelligence on groups Americans want to target.