NATO denies report of US push for expanded raids in Pakistan
A NATO spokesman denied reports of a US proposal to expand operations along the Afghan border, where the Pakistani government is already frustrated by drone attacks.
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"There is absolutely no truth to reporting in The New York Times that US forces are planning to conduct ground operations into Pakistan," Rear Adm. Gregory Smith, deputy chief of staff for communication for NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), said in a statement from Kabul, according to Reuters.
The Los Angeles Times adds that Smith's "sharply worded statement underscored the extreme sensitivities surrounding the subject of militant sanctuaries in Pakistan."
The New York Times had reported yesterday that American military and political officials believe expanded raids could bring an intelligence windfall from militants that are captured in Pakistan and then taken into Afghanistan for interrogation. The proposed campaign expansion would likely further aggravate Washington’s tenuous relationship with Islamabad.
American officials have been increasingly open in recent days about their frustration with Islamabad’s inaction when it comes to routing militants. In a surprise visit to Kabul on Friday, US Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he made clear to Pakistani officials his strong desire to see more operations conducted in areas believed to be militant strongholds, such as North Waziristan, The New York Times reported.