US, Pakistan to target Haqqani network
Washington: US and Pakistani officials are considering joint counter-terrorism campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan that would target the Haqqani militant group, a media report said.
The Haqqani network is a Taliban-affiliated group that operates from North Waziristan in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The Haqqani network has been at the forefront of insurgent activity in Afghanistan, responsible for many high-profile attacks, according to the US State Department.
The proposed counter-terrorism campaigns would target the Haqqani group that has mounted several attacks on US soldiers. It would also target Taliban fighters who have launched attacks on Pakistan, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing US officials.
The plans were discussed in meetings in Washington involving Pakistan's new intelligence chief, Lt Gen Muhammad Zahirul Islam, and top officials of the Central Intelligence Agency, State Department and Pentagon.
The intention of the campaigns would be to stamp out sanctuaries for the Haqqani network in Pakistan, and what Pakistan says are sanctuaries for the Pakistani Taliban in Afghanistan.
The US has long been pressing Pakistan to target the Haqqani group, without success. Washington says the militant network acts like a "veritable arm" of the Pakistani security forces, a charge Pakistan denies, the daily said.
"It's a good beginning," Vali Nasr, a former State Department official and now dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, was quoted as saying.
He said that in previous joint campaigns, Pakistan has asked to be involved in all aspects of intelligence-gathering, but the US side has looked skeptically at Pakistani requests to share information about coming raids.