WASHINGTON ó U.S. military and intelligence officials are so frustrated with Pakistanís failure to stop local militant groups from attacking Americans in neighboring Afghanistan that they have considered making secret joint U.S.-Afghan commando raids into Pakistan to hunt them down, officials told The Associated Press.
The idea, which U.S. officials say is raised every couple of months, has been consistently rejected because the White House believes the chance of successfully rooting out the deadly Haqqani network would not be worth the intense diplomatic blowback from Pakistan that inevitably would ensue.
Members of the Haqqani tribe have been targeted by pilotless U.S. drone aircraft, but sending American and Afghan troops into Pakistan would be a serious escalation of the hunt for terrorists and could potentially be the final straw for Pakistan, which is angry over what it sees as U.S. violations of its sovereignty.
The al-Qaida-allied Haqqani tribe runs a mafia-like smuggling operation and occasionally turns to terrorism with the aim of controlling its territory in eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqanis use Pakistani towns to plan, train and arm themselves with guns and explosives, cross into Afghanistan to attack NATO and Afghan forces, then retreat back across the border to safety.
The latest round of debate over whether to start clandestine special operations raids into Pakistan against the Haqqanis came after the June 1 car bombing of Forward Operating Base Salerno in eastern Afghanistan that injured up to 100 U.S. and Afghan soldiers, according to three current and two former American officials who were briefed on the discussions. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the evolving debates.
Meanwhile, Pakistani lawmakers elected a ruling party loyalist with a checkered past as prime minister on Friday, restoring government to the country after days of political turmoil.
The election of Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was unlikely to calm the tensions roiling the country, and many predicted he would face the same fate as his predecessor who was ousted this week.
The drama highlighted the turbulent nature of politics in this nuclear-armed country that is vital to U.S. hopes for ending the war in Afghanistan. The Americans need Pakistanís help in talks.
U.S. weighs secret raids into Pakistan to hunt militants | TribLIVE