Admiral Mike Mullen, the top US military commander asked for fresh military offensive in North Waziristan during his meetings with the Pakistani military leadership on Wednesday, saying the US might halt drone attacks if the demand was accepted by Pakistan.
Mullen, who met army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Khalid Shamim Wynne, conveyed the US’ concerns over the activities of North Waziristan-based Haqqani network, the most influential Taliban faction to Pakistani military commanders, as he spoke of alleged ties between the militant group and the ISI. “The US military official also expressed his country’s willingness to reconsider the drone policy and bring a halt to attacks by unmanned spy planes currently focused on North Waziristan if the Pakistan Army goes for a full-fledged military operation there to dislodge the Haqqani network, headed by veteran Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani,” an official said on Thursday. As for Pakistan’s response, he said Mullen was told that Pakistani authorities would look into the US conditional offer but as for now no commitment could be made as the Pakistan Army was overstretched because of the military operations in Mohmand Agency and other tribal regions. The Pakistan Army also denied the US allegations put forth by Mullen that Pakistan was not doing enough to combat Al Qaeda and Taliban militants. Issued hours after Wednesday’s meeting between General Kayani and Admiral Mullen, an ISPR statement dubbed the allegations as “negative propaganda”. The statement clearly reflected Pakistan’s anger over negative remarks by Admiral Mullen on Pakistani soil in his interviews to Pakistani media blaming the ISI for links with the Haqqani network and also saying the US would not stop the drone attacks. “The Pakistan Army’s ongoing operations are a testimony of our national resolve to defeat terrorism,” the statement quoted General Kayani as telling Mullen during their meeting. “General Kayani strongly denied the ‘negative propaganda’ that Pakistan was not doing enough and that the Pakistan Army lacked clarity on the way forward,” it said.