US eyeing expanding its war on terror formally into Pakistan?

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Islamabad, Oct 15 (ANI): Despite the furore over a series of cross border strikes by US-led forces in Pakistan, and the subsequent US apology for the killings of three troops in one of those attacks, recent reports suggest that US officials may be eying a repeat of the cross-border incident by seeking raids into Balochistan.

According to recent reports, due to growing administration pressure to show something that seems like progress in the endless Afghan war, US military officials are looking to press Pakistan for more attacks in the tribal area, The Nation reported.

As per the reports, some officials are even advocating crossing the border with US forces and expanding the war formally into Pakistan.

Indeed the attacks would be even more controversial than the previous ones, as the earlier helicopter attacks were in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), while military officials are now seeking raids into Pakistan proper, into the Balochistan province, the paper said.

This week, the officials are heading to Pakistan with plans to press Pakistan's military over the issues surrounding its border with Afghanistan, the paper added.

It further said that broaching the subject of cross border raids is likely to be poorly met by Pakistani officials, and actually doing so will put further strain on an alliance that seems to be getting weaker all the time.

A few weeks earlier, three Pakistani army men were killed in an early morning raid in an air strike by NATO helicopters at a military post, 200 metres inside the Pakistani border in Kurram Agency.

This was their fourth aerial violation of Pakistani territory in less than a week, but the first in which soldiers were killed. Reacting to the incident, Pakistan had suspended supply convoys along the Khyber Pass route, which links Peshawar in Pakistan with Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan, and lodged a protest with the NATO command in Brussels, demanding an apology.

After the standoff turned into an enormous international incident, the US had apologised last week for the helicopter attack after a NATO investigation found that the "tragic event could have been avoided with better coalition force co-ordination with the Pakistan military."

The Pakistan government had subsequently declared a diplomatic and political victory in the National Assembly, after receiving apologies from the United States as well as NATO over the air strikes in Pakistani territory. (ANI)

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