Washington, Sept 6 : US military officials have reportedly said that strikes in Pakistan's FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) will increase in the coming months as "such cross-border raids were necessary" to counter increasing violence in Afghanistan.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, the cross-border US commando missions, like Wednesday's strike in Wana killing around 20 civilians, into Pakistan may grow in coming months despite doubts within the Pentagon over the efficacy of such raids.
Pentagon officials who spoke to Los Angeles Times said that some officials in the US Defence Department believed such commando raids were necessary to counter increasing violence in Afghanistan.
"The raids threatened to aggravate US-Pakistani tensions just before the country's presidential election on Saturday, in which attitudes towards the US are likely to be a key issue," reported the US-based English daily.
It quoted a senior Pentagon official as saying that the presence of so-called safe havens in FATA forced US officials to conduct Wednesday's raid that killed dozens of people in South Waziristan. "You can't allow a haven. You have to get to the areas that they rest, relax and train," said a military officer on the condition of anonymity.
Another US official suggested that the Wednesday's raid was conducted in response to border attacks, and that no high-ranking militant leader was captured or killed. "There are targets other than formally designated high-value targets," the official said.
The report also noted that the raid had fanned a long-standing debate within the Bush administration over how to deal with militants in Pakistan. Pressure has been building within the US military for more aggressive use of existing practices as US casualties have increased with the rising number of attacks carried out in Afghanistan by militants based in Pakistan, the report added.
A senior Pentagon official, conceded that pushing for more aggressive action by the new Pakistani government also carried risks. Any Pakistani politician perceived to favour more US latitude in Pakistan would suffer, the official said, and added: "If you want to lose. Just be the one that gets caught talking to Vice-President Dick Cheney about US incursions across your border."