MABAD - The repeated US air strikes in Pakistan's restive tribal regions are mainly directed at 'Haqqani network', the militant group led by one of the most influential Taliban commanders, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and his son Siraj Haqqani.
Background interviews with Pakistani officials privy to latest developments on Pak-Afghan border revealed that Haqqani network was the main target of the US attacks including the Friday's air strikes on Muhammad Khel village in North Waziristan that killed over 20 persons.
The officials said that Haqqani network was considered by the United States as the most dangerous group of militants fighting against the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and its dismantling was vital for success in the war-torn country.
Jalaluddin and his son Siraj are blamed for close ties with Osama bin Laden and both Taliban commanders are the most wanted men in Afghanistan for their alleged involvement in deadly attacks and for recruiting and training terrorists for suicide bombings.
"Most of those killed in Friday's strikes at the houses of two brothers, Daud Jan and Abdur Rehman, in Muhammad Khel village were foreign fighters. Not only those foreign fighters had links with Haqqani network but also Daud and Rehman were the important commanders of Haqqanis' organisation," said a senior official here Saturday requesting anonymity.
He said that coinciding with strikes on Muhammad Khel, a US warplane bombed another border village of North Waziristan, Datta Khel, and that attack too was directed at the followers of Haqqani.
According to official, North Waziristan is the important tribal region controlled mostly by Haqqanis along with the adjoining Khost province of Afghanistan.
The US forces also conducted a strike in Khost province on Friday near Pakistani border that too according to officials here was meant to hit the Haqqani network.
Another official, who also desired not to be named, said the ongoing strikes against Haqqani network begun with attack in early September at Haqqani compound in the village of Danday Darpakhel near Miranshah. In that attack too, over 20 people including nine Arab fighters were killed.