A religious school near the heart of the country’s tribal areas has for years served as an operational hub for the most lethal adversary of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the so-called Haqqani network, according to U.S. officials.
Still, the CIA has refrained from hitting the site, U.S. officials said, out of concern that targeting a religious compound might trigger a violent backlash. The U.S. military cannot attack a site inside Pakistan. And U.S. officials said the Pakistani military has failed to clear militants from the school, or madrassa, even though it maintains a fort less than two miles away.
The madrassa on the edge of Miram Shah has emerged as a symbol of the constraints on the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, where the enemy – and the prospects for a clear victory – often seem to lie beyond U.S. forces’ grasp…
“It’s a focal point for Haqqani operations,” said a U.S. intelligence official. Beyond the madrassa’s use for recruitment, training and planning, the official said, “there is a strong likelihood that senior Haqqani leaders meet there on a regular basis.”