Haqqani potential target for Abbottabad-like raid

New York: Sirajuddin Haqqani, head of the Haqqani terror network is a potential target for a Abbottabad-like hit, US officials have warned, as reports indicated that the network`s inner circle fled their compounds in Pakistan as the raid on Osama bin Laden became public.

Wall Street Journal quoted a tribal Pushtun elder with ties to the clan as saying that, "Haqqanis are worried", and the group has been alarmed by the persistent CIA drone strikes and the killing of bin Laden.

In one indication that the group said to be close to Pakistan`s military establishment is worried, the elder said was that they emptied their compounds in North Waziristan`s capital, Miran Shah, in the days following the daring American raid that killed bin Laden.

The paper said that the group may be wanting to talk now and Pakistan`s spy agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) is trying to convince that the insurgent Haqqani network should be allowed to join Afghan peace talks, but the US is strongly opposing such a move.

Even though the Haqqani network has not been designated as a foreign terrorist organisation, the US has slapped sanctions against its three top commanders.

The US has been alleging that the ISI is directly supporting the Haqqani network.

"Pakistan`s intelligence service is pressing the Haqqani network of insurgents to join nascent Afghan peace talks, even as US officials demand an offensive against the group, highlighting tensions between the two nations two weeks after the US infuriated officials here with the raid that killed Osama bin Laden," The Wall Street Journal said.

The paper quoting American officials said that the group`s chief Sirajuddin Haqqani, who is based in Pakistan`s North Waziristan tribal area, is a potential target for a raid like the one that killed bin Laden.

But US officials said they want to spare Pakistan from the embarrassment caused after the killing of bin Laden, and would rather like Pakistan to get Haqqani.

The Obama Administration has threatened more drone attacks and raids unless Pakistan moves swiftly against militants such as the Haqqani network.

"ISI has resisted taking on the Haqqani network. It now wants the group to explore a role in Afghan peace talks, say Pakistani officials and tribal elders with ties to the group, suggesting Pakistan is unlikely to heed the US warning that it must act soon," the financial daily reported.

However, US is opposed to the idea of talks with the Haqqani network.

"The Haqqanis haven`t been included in recent efforts to open talks with the main Taliban leadership, headed by Mullah Omar," US officials said.

"I don`t see any evidence that makes me think Haqqani is a guy we`re going to want to be talking to," a US official was quoted as saying.