US commanders are itching to strike tribal militants in Pakistan, but Washington fears such a move could anger Islamabad's new leaders, the New York Times reports. American intelligence officials say the region is a growing threat, and warn that militants are forging alliances with al-Qaeda. But Pakistan is in talks with tribal leaders and doesn't want them scuttled by US attacks.
Pakistan has given the CIA limited permission to strike inside the country, but hitting indigenous Pakistanis is touchier than going after foreign al-Qaeda fighters. “It’s certainly something we want to get to, but not yet,” a Bush administration source said. “If you do it now, you can expect to do it only once because the Pakistanis will never help us again.”