US-Pak 'war on terror' relationship may be finally bearing fruit

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Washington, Aug. 8 (ANI): The recent killings of Pak-Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and Osama bin Laden's son Saad bin Laden in US missile strikes indicate that the Washington's shaky relationship with its war on terror ally Islamabad has finally turned the corner, Fox News reports.

Until now, U.S. officials and commanders involved in the counter-terrorism fight had been frustrated that Pakistan was not ready to make the leap and share intelligence on where some local Taliban commanders were located, impeding American efforts to eliminate them.

But the recent high-profile killings suggest that U.S. intelligence on the ground has crossed a significant threshold.

"There is a strong correlation between our growing knowledge of the Al Qaeda leadership and other terrorist groups (the Taliban) and the high number of commanders being taken off the battlefield," a senior U.S. counter-terrorism official said.

Mehsud unleashed a fearsome campaign of suicide attacks and assassinations that made him the country's most-wanted man before he was killed in a U.S. airstrike, the report said.

While Mehsud's demise would be a major boost to Pakistani and U.S. efforts to eliminate the Taliban and Al Qaeda, it won't necessarily deal a definitive blow because he has deputies who could take his place, it added.

According to the report, Pakistani and U.S. intelligence officials said the CIA was behind the strike Wednesday that killed Mehsud.

Pakistan publicly opposes the missile strikes, saying they anger local tribes and make it harder for the army to operate, but it is apparent that the two countries have a secret deal, it states.

In June, Pakistan said it was launching an operation against Mehsud in South Waziristan. But although airstrikes began, the offensive never went full-scale.

In the meantime, the U.S. missile strikes continued, increasingly targeting Mehsud and raising speculation that the Pakistanis were hoping - or even coordinating with - the Americans to kill Mehsud first. (ANI)

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