US considers expanding raids into Pakistan – report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior US military commanders in Afghanistan are seeking to expand Special Operations ground raids into Pakistan, The New York Times reported yesterday.

The proposal would escalate military activities inside Pakistan and reflects growing frustration with Islamabad’s efforts to root out militants in Pakistani tribal areas, it said, citing US officials in Washington and Afghanistan.

Military commanders said using Special Operations troops could bring an intelligence windfall, if militants were captured and interrogated, the newspaper said.

A Pentagon spokesman had no comment on the report.

The plan has not yet been approved, but military and political leaders say a renewed sense of urgency has taken hold as the Obama administration’s deadline for withdrawing US forces from Afghanistan approaches, The New York Times said.

Obama has promised to begin withdrawing US troops from July 2011.

The United States faults Pakistan for lacking the will to take action against the militants in North Waziristan, a major sanctuary for al Qaeda and Taliban militant in Pakistan.

Many al Qaeda members and Taliban fled to northwestern Pakistan’s ungoverned ethnic Pashtun belt after US-led soldiers ousted Afghanistan’s Taliban government in 2001. From their sanctuaries there, the militants have orchestrated insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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