US offering massive assistance to Pak in South Waziristan offensive: Report

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Washington, Oct.23 (ANI): The United States is offering Pakistan unprecedented assistance in the military offensive against the Taliban in South Waziristan, the den of the outlawed terror outfit.

According to American officials, the US military is providing intelligence and surveillance video from unmanned aircrafts to the Pakistani forces to assist them in the operation 'Rah-e-Nijat', which was kicked-off earlier this week.

Officials said information provided to Pakistan is being used exclusively for intelligence gathering in the on-going war, which is seen as the 'mother of all battles'.

"We are coordinating with the Pakistanis. And we do provide Predator support when requested," The Los Angeles Times quoted a senior US Defence official, as saying on conditions of anonymity.

The cooperation marks a significant change in Islamabad's attitude, which has vehemently rejected any outside support in its struggle against militancy.

The Taliban has targeted, at will, strategic installations across Pakistan in the recent past, which is what has made Pakistan possibly accept the US assistance against the militants.

Despite the massive cooperation in place, US officials see no change in Islamabad's intentions of targeting the top leadership of the Taliban, the newspaper said.

They said they have seen no indication that the latest campaign has targeted, or will target, militant leaders such as Mullah Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Defense analysts also believe that Pakistan should consolidate its gains in South Waziristan before moving on to other territory, it added.

"We would like them to extend the offensive. But we would also like them to hold what they clear. It might or might not be a good call for them to add territorial goals, when it is most important for them to hold what they take," said Stephen Biddle, a military historian and defense analyst.

Another expert, Frederick Kagan, a defense analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, said that the South Waziristan offensive was important for both the US and Pakistan

Kagan said the operation could prove a turning point in America's war against terrorism and particularly against the Al-Qaeda.

"It is conceivable that we could look back at this South Waziristan operation as a turning point in the war against Al Qaeda. This has been the safe haven for these guys," the newspaper quoted him, as saying. (ANI)

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