"Rauf killing proves US has a sharp intelligence in Pak"

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Islamabad, Nov 24 : Friday's killing of a key Taliban leader Rashid Rauf in a drone attack proves that US has a sharper intelligence in Pakistan's borderlands, though political analysts and strategists in Pakistan say that the missile strike was "unlikely to lessen anger" over the US raids.

Islamabad insists it has no prior knowledge of the US raids, which, it says, undermine the country's sovereignty, undercut its anti-terror campaign and make it harder to justify its alliance with Washington. But, many analysts speculate it has cut a "secret deal" with the US, though Islamabad continues to publicly criticise the strikes.

"It is next to impossible for the government to acknowledge working with the Americans, even if it is in the country's interests," said Samina Ahmed, the South Asia project director for the International Crisis Group.

Samina and other analysts said the raids appeared to be getting more successful in targeting foreign, typically Middle Eastern, militants. "There are American informants who are doing a far better job than they once did," she said.

Analysts believe that Al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden and other top Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding in Wazirstan or neighbouring regions, possibly planning more attacks on the West.

Talat Masood, a retired military general and political analyst, said America's interests would be better served if it shared intelligence with Pakistan and allowed it to act. "There is a lack of trust here, but the danger is that the government is looking helpless, while anti-American sentiment is growing with each incoming missile. Ultimately, you need the support of the people in fighting this war," said Masood.

On Sunday, protesters urged Islamabad to sever ties with the US over the strike - highlighting the risks for Washington as it seeks to eliminate Taliban along the Afghan border, yet also support Pakistan's democratically-elected government.

Though Pakistani intelligence officials claimed that Rashid Rauf, a British citizen, and a Saudi Taliban Abu Zubair Al Masri were among the five people killed in Saturday's raid in North Waziristan, there was no independent confirmation of Rauf's death from either the US or Britain, which had been seeking his extradition before he escaped from Pakistani custody in December 2007.

Washington has launched at least 20 suspected missile attacks on Taliban targets close to the Afghan border since mid-August, a dramatic increase that reflects its frustration with Pakistan's own efforts.

ANI

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