Washington, Dec. 19 (ANI): The Pakistan Army might have been claiming that it has forced the militants to flee their dens in the tribal regions along the Afghan border, but fears have arisen that the extremists have infiltrated into the heart of the country, and are establishing new smaller cells to carry out strikes across the country.
Pakistani and US officials expressed fears that the militants have widened their reach, which could have catastrophic effects, as they would now try to infiltrate into Pakistan's crowded cities and blend with the local population.
A Pakistani official, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, said that the Army's offensive in Swat and South Waziristan have put the extremists 'on the run', but he added: "Now they're all over -- Afghanistan, North Waziristan and inside Pakistan."
Experts also believe that the country's teeming cities, particularly in Punjab, provide an apt atmosphere for the extremists to carry on their nefarious activities.
"They have scattered their network and structure. It's easy for many of them to hide in Punjab or Karachi," The Washington Post quoted Muhammad Amir Rana, Director of the Pak Institute for Peace Studies.
The United States is also alarmed as well as frustrated by flow of militants out of the tribal region into Pakistan's heart.
While Islamabad says it is doing as much as it can to counter the extremists movement, but Washington seems dissatisfied with such claims, as it has drastically increased the frequency of drone strikes inside Pakistan's territory.
However, the US has still refrained from attacking the militants outside the tribal region as it has been warned that such a step could add fuel to the massive anti-American sentiment prevailing in Pakistan.
Pakistani officials said that with the anti-Americanism on the rise in the country, drone attacks outside the tribal belt could elicit a powerful public backlash and could jeopardize Pakistani military cooperation.
But the White House continues to warn Islamabad that it would enlarge the scope of its drone campaign unless it steps up its efforts against insurgent groups that have found sanctuary in the country and that focus on attacking U.S. troops in Afghanistan. (ANI)