US may ask Pak to initiate an all out offensive in South Waziristan

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Islamabad, July 22 (ANI): The United States may ask Pakistan to initiate a full-fledged military operation in South Waziristan targeting the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Baitullah Mehsud during the US Special Envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke's visit to the country.

Holbrooke, who arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day visit, may demand more commitment from Pakistan in South Waziristan, diplomatic sources said.

"The special American envoy will urge the Pakistani leaders to go for a full-fledged operation against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in Waziristan along with the ongoing small-scale offensives in Swat, Buner and Dir," The Nation quoted sources, as saying.

While Islamabad has already announced that it would come down hard on Mehsud in his stronghold, it is yet to send troops in the region and is carrying out aerial strikes only.

Sources said the government first wants to consolidate its position in Swat, Dir and Buner, rehabilitate people and ensure their safety before opening another front.

"Once peace and order is restored in Swat, Dir and Buner then the government has no problem with ground operation in Waziristan and one should not forget that Pakistan Air Force is already pounding the militants' hideouts there for the last couple of weeks to soft the target," they said.

However, Holbrooke has ruled out any military interference in Pakistan.

Talking to a delegation of Malakand and Swat based welfare organizations today, Holbrooke said there is no US army presence in Pakistan nor does his country wants any US military action.

Holbrooke is also likely to visit New Delhi on his trip to the region. (ANI)

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