Haqqani network shifts base to Khurram
Washington: Apparently anticipating an impending Pakistan Army offensive on its stronghold of north Waziristan, the dreaded Haqqani network has been preparing an alternative safe haven in the Khurram agency, a US report said.
The security think tank said the possible Pakistani military strike would be "fraught with complications, and likely unsatisfying to those who expect such operations to have a significant impact on the war in Afghanistan."
The think-tank said the Haqqani network and few other militant groups would not be the target "this time too" of the Pakistani Army campaign, preparations for which are in launch stages.
"Expectations of the outcomes of the possible Pakistani operations need to be tempered, however. Any operations conducted in North Waziristan will likely not be comprehensive, and will probably target only certain militant groups and limited areas in the agency," the report said.
The report is significant as it implies that the Pakistan Army or its intelligence has tipped off the Haqqani network, who are now shifting base to Khurram agency, where the Pakistani forces have already undertaken flushing out operations in the last two years.
"Even so, a Pakistani offensive should receive American encouragement and support. An operation would be a major, if belated, step by the Pakistani military. It should come as no surprise that Pakistan will specifically target the groups that pose the biggest threat to Pakistan rather than those that target US troops in Afghanistan," it said.
"But those groups Pakistan will target are also significant threats to the US. The TTP has launched attacks inside Afghanistan and on the US homeland, and continues to express its desire to attempt such attacks in the future," it said.
The TTP and its allies, including al Qaeda, have built up a significant physical infrastructure in and around Mir Ali that stands to be destroyed by any military operation, the report said adding that the massive relocation and resettlement of militant networks that would follow a military offensive would likely have a disruptive effect on their operations, at least for a while.