US threatens ground operations in FATA if Pak doesn't act against terror 'safe havens'

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New York, Sep 29 (ANI): The top US commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus, has issued a veiled warning to Pakistan that Washington could launch ground operations in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), if Islamabad refused to dismantle the militant network in North Waziristan.

The general's warning was evidence of the growing frustration of the US officials that the Pakistan government has not been aggressive enough in dislodging militants from their bases in the country's western mountains, suspected by Western intelligence to be a haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives, The New York Times reported.

"Petraeus wants to turn up the heat on the safe havens... He has pointed out to the Pakistanis that they could do more," a senior administration official explaining the reason why US forces had sharply stepped up drone strikes in the region, said.

Meanwhile, as part of its covert war in Afghanistan, the CIA has launched 20 drone attacks in Pakistan thus far in September, the most ever during a single month, and more than twice the number in a typical month.

The recent strikes had been aimed at several groups, including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, as the United States hoped to "keep the pressure on as long as we can," revealed an American official.

The war along the Af-Pak border region is escalating in other ways as well, as three ISAF air strikes in Pakistani territory killed more than 50 suspected members of the Haqqani network, according to US military officials' estimate. Pakistani officials have criticised the attacks, saying that NATO's mandate is to carry out attacks only in Afghanistan. (ANI)

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