US reluctant to openly support Waziristan offensive

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Washington, Oct. 21 (ANI): Despite playing a proactive role in Pakistan's Waziristan offensive against the Taliban, the United States has almost been reluctant to acknowledge its support for the military operation.

"Washington fears that a public position, even in favour of Pakistan, will hurt the Pakistanis. The Pakistanis too do not want this to be seen as a US-backed operation," The Dawn quoted one such expert, as saying.

Recently, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates describes the offensive as encouraging but added that it was too early to judge the outcome.

"I'm obviously encouraged by the Pakistani operations. We obviously are very supportive of what the Pakistanis are doing. But it's very early yet," Gates said.

US State Department spokesman Ian Kelly too avoided appearing too enthusiastic in backing the offensive.

"I think that they've turned a corner as well in their democratic development, and so we support them in their efforts. One of the major reasons that we are supporting these efforts is to help us reach success in Afghanistan as well," Kelly said.

Many experts insist that the US support for the operation is stronger than it appears.

A recent Pentagon announcement that it is rushing in essential military equipment to help Pakistan combat the militants is one strong proof of it, they say.

Also, as the Pakistani army launched the offensive, two top US officials, Centcom chief Gen David Petraeus and Senator John Kerry, visited Islamabad to consult military and civilian leaders. (ANI)

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