US, Pak army improve ties to tackle Taliban, says WSJ editorial

January 6th, 2009 - 7:13 pm ICT by ANI  


Torkham, Jan.6 (ANI): In order to counter the increasing influence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked groups along the Pak-Afghan border, the armies of the US and Pakistan are increasing bilateral co-operation, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal says.
The relationship between the two armies seems to be getting better for the first time since 2008, with both of them sharing intelligence reports and important investigation results, it added. The US military officers were allowing Pakistani officers access to video feeds from drones flying over Pakistans Tribal Areas and also granting access to American intercepts of Taliban cellular and satellite phone calls inside Pakistan, the Daily Times quoted the editorial, as saying.
Alarmed by the recent upsurge in extremist activities in the tribal areas, the Pak army is using US intelligence to carry out strikes against the Taliban and other armed groups in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the editorial said.
The WSJ editorial said that the co-operation between the US and Pak military was a complete contrast from last year (2008) when the US ground and airstrikes inside Pakistan, withheld military cooperation.
US officials credit the turnaround in part to Gen Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistan Army chief, who has come to believe that Taliban pose an extreme threat, the editorial said.
The US considered that the security in Afghanistan was deteriorating because of Taliban based in the safe havens in the Tribal Areas, it added.
The reduction in the US missile strikes on alleged Taliban targets inside Pakistan has attributed to the co-operation of the two armies, the editorial claimed.
Co-ordinated military campaign known as Operation Lionheart, which involves US moves against militants in the Kunar region of Afghanistan and a large Pakistani campaign in the extremist stronghold of Bajaur, has put the militant groups on the back foot, the editorial quoted top US commander in eastern Afghanistan Maj Gen Jeffrey Schloesser, as saying.
The generals comments marked one of the first times a senior US official had publicly confirmed the US missile strikes in Pakistan.
The number of Taliban crossing into Afghanistan from Pakistan has begun to decrease, Maj Gen Schloesser, added.
The US and Afghan forces, which were hit by up to 20 rockets a day over the summer, are now hit by two or three, he added. (ANI)

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