U.S. military leaders are reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan if there is a successful attack on American soil tied to the country's tribal areas, The Washington Post reported in its Saturday edition.
The newspaper said senior U.S. military officials stressed a possible strike would only be considered under extreme circumstances such as a catastrophic attack that convinced President Barack Obama that the campaign using CIA drone strikes is not working.
The officials said airstrikes would be the most effective option in reducing the threat posed by al-Qaeda and other groups, but the United States must be careful not to damage its military relationship with Pakistan to a point where it cannot be repaired.
CIA-operated drones have targeted Taliban figures in Pakistan's tribal areas and the group has vowed to avenge missile strikes that have killed some of its leaders.
The failed Times Square bombing on May 1 has revived international fears about Pakistan, a U.S. ally in the campaign against militancy. It also has forced the Obama administration to review how it would respond to a successful attack on U.S. soil.
U.S. authorities say Faisal Shahzad, a Pakistani-American, has admitted to the Times Square bomb attempt and has been cooperating with investigators since his arrest on May 3.
American and Pakistani authorities are likely scrambling for clues on whether those detained have ties to militants in Pakistan, who are bent on toppling the state and are violently opposed to the U.S. presence.