Gates hints at US ground force strikes against extremists holed up in Pak

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Washington, Aug.3 (ANI): Expressing concerns over the leakage of the Afghan war's classified documents, which nailed the Inter Services Intelligence' (ISI) links with the Taliban, US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates has hinted towards a military offensive inside Pakistan's geographical territory.

Gates, who appeared on the ABC's "This Week" programme, said that Washington has decided to undertake a massive troop build up in eastern Afghanistan, a stronghold of the dangerous Haqqani network, adding that the operation could be on "both sides of the border."

"We are increasing cooperation with Pakistanis in terms of working on both sides of the border, in terms of trying to prevent people from crossing that border. We are increasing our forces in eastern Afghanistan that will help us do this," Gates said.

Gates also underlined that the Taliban insurgency would not be able to wait out American forces, and added that there was no major pullout on the horizon.

"My personal opinion is that drawdowns early on will be fairly of limited numbers," The News quoted Gates, as saying.

When asked that whether the Taliban would simply 'wait and watch' till President Obama's mid 2011 deadline, he said such a strategy would actually help the US.

"I would welcome that because we will be there in the 19th month, and we will be there with lot of troops," Gates said.

The allied forces led by the US would swell to almost 150,000 by September. (ANI)

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