Pakistan ready to go into North Wazirstan?
The Pakistani military, long reluctant to heed American urging that it attack Pakistani militant groups in their main base in North Waziristan, is coming around to the idea that it must do so, in its own interests.I am sure the Obama administration has made some significant in roads with Pakistan. I would also credit Gen. Petraeus who has probably worked with the Pakistan military in support of their operations that have put much of the Taliban on its heels and into hiding in North Waziristan, and probably in Afghanistan too.
Western officials have long believed that North Waziristan is the single most important haven for militants with Al Qaeda and the Taliban fighting American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. Pakistan has nurtured militant groups in the area for years in order to exert influence beyond its borders.
The developing shift in thinking — described in recent interviews with Western diplomats and Pakistani security officials — represents a significant change for Pakistan’s military, which has moved against Taliban militants who attack the Pakistani state, but largely left those fighting in Afghanistan alone.
That distinction is becoming harder to maintain, Pakistani and Western officials say, as the area becomes an alphabet soup of dangerous militant groups that have joined forces to extend their reach deeper inside Pakistan.
“This is a scary phenomenon,” one Western diplomat said. “All these groups are beginning to morph together.”
The consensus is gathering against a background of improved United States-Pakistan relations. The Obama administration’s efforts with Pakistan are beginning to bear fruit, officials said, while the countries’ armies have begun working together more closely, particularly since Pakistan stepped up its military efforts, according to a Pentagon report to Congress released this week.
It is not clear when such an operation would be launched, but ideally it would happen around the same time the US surge forces were in place in Kandahar and elsewhere in Afghanistan.