Washington: The US has been asked to insist on a robust military campaign in Pakistan`s anarchic tribal belt of North Waziristan, where western intelligence recently traced an alleged plot to mount multiple attacks on cities in Europe.
"If not by Pakistani forces, then by the US military", `The Washington Post` said in an editorial on Tuesday as it said that relations between US and Pakistan, never stable, are once again close to crisis.
The Post said that the immediate cause of the crisis was closing down by Pakistan of the land transport route to Afghanistan for non-lethal US and NATO supplies. It said the shutdown of supply route had caused a backup of thousands of trucks carrying fuel and other supplies and which in turn had enabled a series of attacks by Pakistan based Taliban forces.
"Pakistan`s punishment of NATO for the border incident is arguably an inevitable response to domestic political opinion. But its resistance to a more muscular US campaign in North Waziristan, where Haqqani faction is based, is unacceptable", the Post said.
The Obama administration had repeatedly pressed Pakistani military to act against the Haqqani and al Qaeda sanctuaries the paper said adding that Pakistani military had just as often refused.
"But if Pakistan is really unable to tackle the sanctuaries, it cannot be allowed to prevent the US and its allies from doing so", the Post said.
The paper said that the exchange of fire on the border reflects a more aggressive effort by the US command in Afghanistan to disrupt terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan`s tribal areas, using both CIA operated drones and piloted aircraft.
Part of this offensive may be aimed at heading off reported plans by al Qaeda for terrorist attacks in Europe in the near future. However, many of the drone attacks have been aimed at the Taliban`s Haqqani faction, which is believed to be deeply entwined with al Qaeda - and with Pakistan`s intelligence agency.
Advising Obama administration to avoid rupture in relations with Islamabad, Washington Post said the US "must insist on a robust military campaign in North Waziristan – if not by Pakistani forces, then by US".
The advocation of a military campaign in North Waziristan by the US media came as the reports said, eight suspected German militants believed to be part of al Qaeda plot to launch a Mumbai-type terrorist attack in European cities are believed to have been killed in the latest drone attacks.
Post said that the Germans believed to be of Turkish origin killed in the missile fusillade belonged to a group called Jehad al Islami.
German police officials have admitted that 200 of their nationals have recently undertaken terrorist training in camps in Pakistan`s tribal belt and 70 of them are still missing.
The US` Fox channel has reported that militants had a target list in France and Germany including landmarks like Eiffel Tower, Brandenburg Gate and Berlin`s railway station and TV tower.
CNN said this group used several routes to get to Pakistan, some going overland through Iran and some travelling by air via the Persian Gulf.
Managing the logistics, according to German intelligence officials, was a man known as Asadullah M, 52, a Hamburg resident of Afghan origin who is thought to be in the Pakistani tribal area along the Afghan border, the news channel said.
"Eight members of the travel group, including two wives of the militants, eventually made it to the tribal areas of Pakistan, where they joined the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), an Uzbek militant group with strong ties to al Qaeda, according to German intelligence officials," CNN said.