US forces report jump in infiltration from Pak

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 16:29

Washington: As American-backed Afghan
forces` massive operation `Knife Edge` got underway in eastern
Afghanistan, US and NATO forces have said that infiltration
and cross-border attacks emanating from Pakistan have jumped
up.

Significant increase in the Haqqani network activity in
Khost, Paktia, Logar and Wardak has been reported which are on
infiltration routes from Pakistan to launch attacks against
the Afghan capital, CNN reported quoting top NATO officials in
Kabul.

"Whether or not NATO and US will have to provide more
assistance to the Afghan forces along the border with
Pakistan," the officials said would depend on "the level of
threat coming out of Miranshah".

General John Allen, the commander of US and NATO forces
in Afghanistan, has completed a 90-day assessment of the
campaign plan and suggested a gradual shift of focus to
pulverise Haqqani network militants in the east.

"As things improve in the south, we will focus more on
the east," officials said.

Though US officials have given bare details about the
build-up to launch the new operation against the Haqqani
terror network, Pakistani media reports have said that heavy
artillery, fresh troops and helicopter gunships have been
moved closer to the border to hit Haqqani terror network`s
stronghold in the region.

The new Afghan operation in the east against the Haqqani
militants comes as Pentagon said that cross-border attacks
emanating from Pakistan against US-led forces in Afghanistan
have increased since the US raid that killed Osama bin Laden
in Pakistan.

New York Times reported that US bases in Afghanistan`s
eastern Paktika province had complained that rocket fire had
dramatically increased from Pakistani territory since May.

It was unclear if the fire, usually 107mm rockets, was
the result of an emboldened insurgency, retaliation by the
Pakistani military or some mixture of both, the Times
reported, quoting US military officers.

In some cases the rocket fire came from insurgent
positions just inside Afghanistan, with crews then rushing
back across to Pakistan, the newspaper wrote.

There were at least 102 "close-border" attacks against
three US outposts in Paktika since May, compared to 13 such
incidents during the same period last year, it said.

When contacted by US troops, Pakistani military officers
at the border often say they are not aware of the rocket fire
or cannot see it, even though the fire is often coming from
positions next to Pakistani military or Frontier Corps posts,
the Times reported.

Given the degree of sophistication and coordination
displayed in the attacks, some US officers strongly suspect
the Pakistani military or intelligence service is involved in
the rocket fire, the paper said.

The rise in cross-border fire comes amid deep strains in
US-Pakistan relations in the aftermath of the bin Laden raid
and following accusations from former top US military officer
Admiral Mike Mullen that Islamabad was supporting Haqqani
militant attacks on US forces in Afghanistan.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 16:29

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