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Missile strike could complicate Pakistan battle
Home News & Society News
By: Dann Qayyaum Email Article
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Just when the Pakistan Army has started a major operation against TTP and foreign militants in South Waziristan the US Military has started to stab Pakistan in the back again. First there are confirmed reports that US and NATO troops have moved back from border area surrounding South Waziristan and have given a big escape route for TTP to move back into Afghanistan.

Before starting this operation, Pakistan Army had won the loyalty of Hafiz GulBahadur, and Maulvi Nazir. Now when the operation is in full swing, and hard fought battle is raging on, when brave sons of Pakistan Army are sacrificing their lives for their nation, US drone handlers are hitting missiles at pro-Pakistan Taliban based in Waziristan so as to ignite them into joining Takfiri TTP.

This should be a lesson and a wake up call for Pakistan Army and the entire Pakistani nation that US is double crossing us openly and the US always had ill-intention towards Pakistan. US interest can never align with Pakistanís interest. It is imperative that all treaties or agreements done between President Musharaf and President Zardari with the US must be bought before media and canceled. Pakistan Army should cut off the NATO supply line from Karachi until Indian Consulates stop sending terrorists into Pakistan and until Drone attacks stop.

AP story continues below

Soldiers fought for the Pakistani Taliban chiefís hometown Wednesday as they pressed an offensive along the Afghan border, while intelligence officials said U.S. missiles hit territory controlled by another insurgent, threatening to undermine deals that keep some militants out of the battle.

The five-day-old offensive in South Waziristan is considered a critical test of nuclear-armed Pakistanís campaign against Islamist extremists blamed for soaring attacks at home and on Western forces in neighboring Afghanistan. On Tuesday, suicide attacks killed six people at a university in Islamabad, leading Pakistan to temporarily close all educational institutions. The military is advancing on multiple fronts in South Waziristan, a tribal region home to al-Qaida fighters and Taliban insurgents who have focused on overthrowing the U.S.-allied Pakistani government.

The fight for the town of Kotkai is symbolically important because Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud and a top deputy, Qari Hussain, hail from there. Kotkai also lies on the way to the major militant base of Sararogha. An army statement Wednesday said forces were engaged in "intense encounters" in hills surrounding Kotkai and had secured an area to its east. Two intelligence officials said troops had secured parts of the town and destroyed Mehsudís and Hussainís homes, but army spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas denied that late Wednesday, saying there was no significant fighting inside the town yet.

The army believes Mehsud and Hussain remain in the region directing militantsí defenses.

Security forces on another front cleared Khaisura, a village dotted with heavily fortified bunkers complete with six-foot (two-meter) thick concrete walls, the army said. The statement reported three more soldiers were killed, bringing the armyís death toll so far to 16, while 15 more militants were slain, bringing their death toll to 105.

It is nearly impossible to independently verify information coming from South Waziristan because the army has closed off all roads to the region. Analysts say both sides have exaggerated successes and downplayed losses in the past.

The missile strike Wednesday targeted Spalaga, a village with at least 1,000 homes in the North Waziristan tribal region. Two intelligence officials said at least two suspected insurgents were killed. Their identities were not immediately known.

All the intelligence officials interviewed Wednesday requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The U.S. has launched scores of missiles in South and North Waziristan over the past year, including one that killed former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud in August. But the latest strike was especially sensitive.

It hit territory controlled by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a militant leader the army has coaxed into remaining neutral during the offensive against the Mehsud faction in South Waziristan. Pakistan considers Bahadur, along with militant leader Maulvi Nazir of South Waziristan, lesser priorities because they focus on battling U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, not targets inside Pakistan.

Analysts said the missile strikes, which have long angered ordinary Pakistanis and motivated militant fighters, could stir fury among Bahadurís insurgents, straining the deals with the army.

"This has the potential of messing up the calculus of the Pakistanis," said Kamran Bokhari, an analyst with Stratfor, a U.S.-based global intelligence firm. "It could broaden the scope of the war for the Pakistanis, which theyíre not prepared for at this time."

An AP photographer in Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, took photos of two small girls allegedly wounded in the strike.

Aslam Din, who identified himself as the father of Sameeda Gul and Fatima Gul, said the girls were playing in the compound in Spalaga during the attack and were wounded by shrapnel.

Sameeda, who appeared to be around 6, was hurt in her right leg, while Fatima, around 4, had head injuries. Neither injury appeared to be life-threatening. Din would not discuss who was staying in the guesthouse struck by the missiles.

Pakistan routinely condemns the American missile strikes as violations of its sovereignty, warning that the civilian casualties they cause deepen anti-U.S. sentiment and complicate the fight against terrorism.

But many suspect the two countries have a deal allowing the drone-fired attacks. U.S. officials rarely discuss the covert operation, but have said in the past that it has killed several top militant leaders and is too valuable to set aside.

U.S. officials hope that Pakistan will eventually broaden its fight to include all insurgent factions, and have routinely dismissed peace deals as tools that strengthen insurgent groups. But for now, some American officials have said it is logical for the Pakistani military to target its top internal enemy.

The army has deployed some 30,000 troops to South Waziristan against about 12,000 Taliban militants, including up to 1,500 foreign fighters, among them Uzbeks and Arabs.

In a statement late Tuesday, the chairman of Pakistanís Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Gen. Tariq Majid, appealed to Western forces to aid the South Waziristan offensive by sealing the border on the Afghan side, preventing the flow of militants and weapons.

The United Nations says at least 32,000 people have fled South Waziristan over the last week, joining more than 80,000 people who left earlier when the army began making preparations for the offensive. Authorities say more are likely to leave in coming weeks, but donít expect to have to house them in camps because most have relatives in the region.

http://pakistankakhudahafiz.wordpress.com

Dann Qayyum is an author of this article http://pakistankakhudahafiz.wordpress.com

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