Tags: Obama | Afghan.war | Pakistan

Pakistan Imperils Obama Afghan War Surge

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 09:11 PM

A key plank of President Obama’s strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan was in danger of giving way last night after a refusal by Pakistan to take on a top Taleban commander who is considered one of the gravest threats to Western forces in the region.

Pakistan has ignored repeated US demands that it expand its military operation against Islamist militants to target strongholds of Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of a legendary Mujahidin commander of the 1980s. The stand-off may mean an intensified campaign of American drone strikes in North Waziristan, US officials have warned.

A senior Pakistani security official told The Times that any confrontation with Haqqani could create more problems for the overstretched Pakistani Army, engaged in running battles with militants in neighbouring South Waziristan and other tribal regions. “We cannot fight on so many fronts,” the official said. Any escalation by the US would be disastrous. “We have drawn a red line and would not accept any cross-border strikes by US forces.”

Pressure on Pakistan to dismantle Afghan Taleban sanctuaries in the tribal areas and in western Baluchistan has been growing since Mr Obama’s announcement of an Afghan troop surge and a new “strategic partnership” with Pakistan.

That partnership was supposed to consist of steeply increased US military and civilian aid to Pakistan in return for full co-operation from Pakistani forces in a joint effort to drive Taleban and al-Qaeda militants from their hideouts along the Afghan-Pakistani border.

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Tuesday, 15 December 2009 09:11 PM
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