Pressure is being mounted on Pakistan to “do more” against the Haqqani terrorist network in North Waziristan, and the aerial strikes by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in the tribal agency over the weekend and adjoining Khurram on Monday morning are perceived as part of the pressure tactics.
This month has seen the maximum number of drone attacks in the tribal belt of Pakistan along the Afghanistan border — rough estimates based on media reports places the number at 20. And, the number of U.S. air strikes in the region this year has already crossed the total for all of last year. As against 53 drone attacks in 2009, there have already been 74 such strikes this year, according to data collected by the Long War Journal.
The New York Times on Tuesday quoted the commander of the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, David Patraeus, as wanting to turn up the heat on the safe terrorist havens in Pakistan’s tribal belt.
While Pakistan Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit refused to elaborate on what the government meant by the veiled threat that Islamabad would be “constrained to consider response options” if immediate corrective measures are not taken, media reports here suggest that this meant no further guarantee for NATO supply routes through the country.
Barring weapons — which are mostly flown in — much of the supplies and fuel for the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan is taken over land through Pakistan after they arrive by ship in Karachi.