'Gradual Escalation' Planned for US-Demanded Offensive
Pakistan’s Daily Times, a newspaper with close ties to the ruling Zardari government, is citing anonymous reports from officials claiming that the Pakistani military is going to begin the long-demanded invasion of North Waziristan early next week.
The report suggests that this week’s invasion of a portion of South Waziristan is linked to the planned operation, and that they will likely move into North Waziristan from this portion of South Waziristan. It is claimed that it will be a “gradual escalation.”
The Obama Administration has been demanding attacks on North Waziristan for years, and has been using the lack of one as a justification for the repeated drone strikes against the tribal areas. Thousands of North Waziristan residents have already fled the agency based on rumors that the invasion would begin on August 26.
Pakistan’s military was said to be reluctant to launch the offensive both because of significant numbers of powerful tribal militias that they are in a tentative state of nonaggression with, and because past US-demanded offensives into South Waziristan, Khyber and Orakzai netted almost no militant leaders, with the bulk of the factions just shifting into whichever region isn’t being attacked at any given time.
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