Why South Waziristan offensive won't help US in Afghanistan
The Pakistan Army is going after terrorists who target Pakistan. All the major terrorist networks attacking US forces in Afghanistan operate from other areas of Pakistan.
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In his assessment of Afghanistan, McChrystal calls the wing of the Taliban commanded by Omar the Quetta Shura Taliban, and reports that it "has been working to control [the southern Afghan] city of Kandahar and its approaches for several years and there are indications that their influence over the city and neighboring districts is significant and growing."Skip to next paragraph
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More broadly, it aims to return Afghanistan to Taliban rule.
The Haqqani Network
The second greatest threat to US forces in Afghainstan is the network run by Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin. Reports place them in North Waziristan.
The US recently shifted the focus of its drone attacks to North Waziristan from South Waziristan. It had concentrated on South Waziristan throughout the summer – apparently in an attempt to placate the Pakistanis. The attacks in South Waziristan were successful, killing the leader of the Tehreek-i-Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud.
But the renewed focus on North Waziristan – even as Pakistan invades the South – "indicates the US is now targeting the dangerous Haqqani Network and also al Qaeda's network, which operates in the agency," according to The Long War Journal.
Third on McChrystal's list of Pakistan-based threats to troops in Afghanistan is the Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin network led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. This group is believed to be responsible for the recent firefight in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province that left eight American soldiers dead.
It operates in parts of tribal Pakistan much farther north than South Waziristan. According to McChrystal, it "aims to negotiate a major role in a future Taliban government."
The South Waziristan offensive is not irrelevant to American strategic interests. "Stability in Pakistan is essential, not just in its own right, but also to enable progress in Afghanistan," McChrystal writes.
But, in and of itself, it is unlikely to have any dramatic effect on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan.
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