US rehearses strikes inside Pak

US rehearses strikes inside Pak

Islamabad to face action if a future attack on US soil is traced to Pak

US rehearses strikes inside Pak

Also known as dry run, this trial exercise is a rehearsal of a military's combat skills without the use of live ammunition, influential 'Dawn' newspaper said in a dispatch from Washington.

Quoting diplomatic sources, it said the trial run for a unilateral strike in Pakistan, however, did not involve US troops.

"Instead, it projected computer simulations of such an attack with an assessment of a possible counterattack and of the potential resistance US troops might face if they entered the Pakistani soil," the report said.

It quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the US had already informed Pakistan of its intention to conduct such an exercise before conducting the computer simulations.

Soon after the Mumbai attacks, the then Bush administration had planned live exercises close to the Pakistan border and conveyed its decision to Islamabad as well, the report said.

The US' decision forced the then National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani to fly to Washington for convincing the Americans that such exercises would not help the fight against terrorism.

"Instead, they would have weakened the nascent democratic setup in Pakistan and eroded its ability to support the US-led war," it said.

However, the US abandoned its move to carry out such exercises after US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen got an assurance from his Pakistani counterpart Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that Islamabad would do its best to prevent extremists from using its soil for attacking other countries.

A diplomatic source told the Dawn that the American decision to once again explore the possibility of a unilateral military strike is not a threat.

"It aims at convincing Pakistanis that now is the time to uproot extremists. A failure to do so may lead to an attack on the US soil, which, in turn, could lead to an American military strike inside Pakistan," he said.

The report said Americans believed there were people in the Pakistani establishment who still sympathised with the jihadi elements.

While such people, according to the source, were no longer interested in protecting Al Qaeda or the Afghan Taliban, "they still have a soft corner for Pakistani jihadi elements, particularly those who fought in Kashmir."

The Americans, however, "have concluded that all such groups are linked to Al Qaeda, whether they are fighting in Kashmir or Afghanistan, and want all of them uprooted," the source added.

The Pakistani judiciary was also requested not to be lenient to people like Hafiz Saeed.
Diplomatic sources in Washington also observed that the decision to leak to the media the US military's plans for a unilateral strike aimed at "persuading any elements in the power structure in Islamabad to do what is needed: share more intelligence, stop insisting that there are good Taliban and bad Taliban and to get serious about uprooting all jihadi groups."

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