Panetta warns of action against Pakistan-based rebels
KABUL (PAN): A senior US official has warned of launching an operation against the Haqqani militant group in Pakistan, blaming the network for the latest suicide attacks in the Afghan capital city of Kabul.
Several gunmen, equipped with heavy and light weapons, stormed a high-rise building under construction near the Abdul Haq Square in the heavily-fortified city at around 1:30pm on Tuesday.
They began firing at the National Directorate of Security (NDS) office, the US embassy, NATO headquarters and some government compounds. The 20-hour battle left 27 people, including policemen and civilians, dead.
US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters in San Francisco the rocket strikes in Kabul and a truck bombing in central Maidan Wardak province, conducted by the Haqqani Network, were planned in Pakistan.
He said they had asked Pakistan time and again to conduct operations against the group, but it was yet to do so, the defence secretary said. The rebel outfit is largely active in the North Waziristan tribal region.
"We will have to launch an operation against the Haqqani Network in Pakistan," he said, without elaborating. The US would take any steps to prevent attacks from Pakistan against its interests in Afghanistan, he added
"I think the message they (the Pakistanis) need to know is: we're going to do everything we can to defend our forces," continued the former CIA director, who voiced concern at the Haqqanis' ability to hit US troops and flee back to their sanctuary in Pakistan.
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