Strong suggestions by the US that it could resort to unilateral intervention against al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan are generating increasing anxiety among American officials, who warn that such an action could "backfire", a media report said on Tuesday.
The US has increased the pressure in the recent days, asserting in public statements and closed-door meetings with Pakistani officials that the increase in the number of Taliban fighters crossing from their tribal areas into Afghanistan to fight American forces was unacceptable, the New York Times said.
A spike in deaths of the US and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan in the last two months has been largely attributed by American officials to the flow of Pakistani Taliban into southern part of the war-torn country, the paper said.
American officials, it said, have also told Pakistani officials their concern that al-Qaeda was plotting attacks on the United States from sanctuaries in the tribal areas.
The Times said alarm in Pakistan about possible American intervention rose after a surprise visit on July 12 by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen to Islamabad where he met with the Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and President Pervez Musharraf.
It was Admiral Mullen's fourth visit in six months to see the nation's leaders, the paper noted, saying days afterward, reports about a buildup of NATO forces on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan added to Pakistani anxiety.
A senior Pakistani government official familiar with the content of the meetings with Mullen was quoted as saying that the admiral was informed that unilateral action by the US would be "counterproductive" and would result in "chaos."