Success of Pakistan's military offensive against Taliban unclear: US official

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Lahore, Jan. 13 (ANI): America's top defence intelligence officer has expressed doubts over the success rate of Pakistan's military offensives against the Taliban, by saying that it "is unclear how many of the enemy have actually been taken off the board."

The Daily Times quoted US Defence Intelligence Agency chief Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess as saying that "our Pakistani partners have been fairly successful in some of their undertakings".

"It is unclear to me as I look at it as an intelligence professional is how many of the enemy have actually been taken off the board... or has the enemy melted away into the countryside or moved to another location?," he said.

"While there is always something to be gained by forcing an enemy out of its sanctuary, at the end of the day I think this is an enemy that you are going to have to kill," he added.

While Burgess takes Pakistan's top leaders "at their word", he reckons that low-ranking officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) "may be helping the militants without official sanction".

"They say that there is no official relationship that exists with those (groups). But that is not to say that inside an intelligence organisation that at some lower level... someone does still not have an old relationship that may have spanned the last 15 or 20 years," he said.

Despite a notable success against terror organizations in Afghanistan, Burgess said, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are still powerful enough to "cause pain".

"But what we see happening with Al Qaeda is that they still have the ability, working with the Taliban and some of the other groups in there, to cause pain and to bring about some of the more spectacular events that may occur from time to time," he said.(ANI)

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