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US warns Pak of ground ops

A top US military commander has issued veiled warnings to Pakistan army brass that America could launch ground operations in the tribal areas, if Islamabad refused to dismantle the militant network in North Waziristan.

world Updated: Sep 29, 2010 00:06 IST

A top US military commander has issued veiled warnings to Pakistan army brass that America could launch ground operations in the tribal areas, if Islamabad refused to dismantle the militant network in North Waziristan.

The warning by Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan General David H Petraeus, the New York Times said, was evidence of growing frustration of US officials who believe that Pakistanis are unlikely to launch a military operations in the area, suspected by Western intelligence to be a haven for Al Qaeda and Taliban operatives.

“Petraeus wants to turn up the heat on the safe havens,” a senior official was quoted as saying, and this was the reason that US forces had sharply stepped up drone strikes in the area.

“He has pointed out to the Pakistanis that they could do more.”

The official said that the drone operations had also been intensified to pre-empt a possible terrorist attack in several European countries.

US and European intelligence agencies are evaluating the intelligence data of a possible Al Qaeda or Taliban attack on the European mainland.

As part of its covert war in the region, the CIA has launched 20 drone attacks in the last 24 days, killing more than 100 Taliban and foreign militants. The strikes have been mainly targeted to hit the Haqqani network, which the Americans believed is based in the area.

“There are some pretty notable threat streams,” one US military official, was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal.

Beyond the CIA drone strikes, the war in the region is escalating in other ways. American military gunships have launched three strikes into Pakistan that military officials estimate killed more than 50 people suspected of being members of the Haqqani network, which is responsible for the spate of deadly attacks against American troops.