Washington: US forces traced Sirajuddin Haqqani, the elusive operating chief of the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, recently to Waziristan`s main town of Miran Shah in northwestern Pakistan.
Sirajuddin was found by American forces to be in the turbulent town during the recent audacious militant attacks on the Afghan capital Kabul.
This is for the first time that US officials have acknowledged tracing the Haqqani faction Taliban leader whose outfit they blame for the number of attacks on American establishments including the US embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul.
US and Afghan officials have also blamed the recent attacks on western embassies and the Afghan Parliament on the Haqqani network.
Quoting Pakistani officials New York Times reported that last week in Islamabad, American negotiators told their Pakistani counterparts they had located Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the Haqqani network, in Miran Shah during the assault.
Washington has been pressing Islamabad to undertake a military offensive in North Waziristan where it believes that Haqqani network is based.
NYT said Pakistan’s military vigorously denies it is soft-pedalling the fight against the Haqqanis. Generals say their forces, now thought to involve about 150,000 regular and paramilitary troops in the northwest region, are stretched by combat in other parts of the tribal belt.
"We have already shifted huge numbers of troops off the eastern border. We can’t do any more," a senior Pakistani security official said.
Days after the sting, US drones carried out a major missile assault on the town killing three people and wounding two. Pakistani officials later identified the militants killed as belonging to Punjabi Taliban fighters, aligned with the Haqqani network.
The militants were holed up in an abandoned girls school and in Washington, a senior official confirmed the strike, describing the compound as a "staging and planning area for al Qaeda, the Haqqanis and other terrorists”.
He said the militants based there "were preparing explosives for use in attacks inside Afghanistan”, similar to the April 15 attacks.