By William Tucker
Xinhua news is reporting that five militants belonging to the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) were grabbed by NATO forces (most likely U.S. Special Forces) in North Waziristan. One other news agency, aptly named the News, published a similar report, but claimed that the five individuals grabbed belonged to the Haqqani Network. Two days later neither report has been independently confirmed although Xinhua did question an official in the Pakistani military and a local political agent. Both of those questioned did corroborate the report. Xinhua has been rather reliable, but ISAF, and U.S. officials, have remained silent on the purported raid. It is possible that the U.S. carried out this raid with Pakistani permission, but has kept quiet about the operation to avoid further political embarrassment of the Pakistani’s.
If the Pakistani’s did indeed cooperate, then it is more likely that the targets of the raid belonged to the TTP, which regularly attacks Pakistan rather than the Haqqani network which targets coalition forces in Afghanistan. Another point to consider is the impending withdrawal of U.S. forces from the region which will leave Pakistan as the regional power in Afghanistan. Pakistan will want to reestablish its primacy in its northern neighbor, but to do that it needs to weed out unfriendly elements of the Taliban. Cooperating with the U.S. in raids of this nature furthers both nations’ objectives.