WASHINGTON - The Pakistani militarys plan to go after the Taliban in South Waziristan is more than two months old but The Washington Post says it is yet to take off. The delay is due to the huge humanitarian crisis resulting from the displacement of about 2 million people during the earlier campaign in the northwests Swat Valley. The Post, quoting US and Pakistani officials, reported the military, already stretched thin, does not want to lower its guard against India in the east. It also is finding it difficult to isolate Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud. Military analysts, cited by the Post, said they were worried that the campaign in the mountainous South Waziristan, believed to be a Taliban and Al-Qaeda stronghold, will get more difficult as cold weather approaches. Talking to The Washington Post, Richard Holbrooke, US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, told the Post the elimination of Mehsud was important. However, the first imperative is to secure the areas the refugees are going back into, he added. Our Monitoring Desk adds: Holbrooke said Baitullah Mehsud, commander of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), is a dreadful man, and his elimination is an imperative. Although Holbrooke said it could be beneficial to have simultaneous offensives the US Marines on the Afghanistan side of the border and the Pakistan Army in the tribal regions to the east - the greater concern is unfinished business elsewhere. Why would I push them to start an offensive when they have two million people they have to protect first? Holbrooke said. Part of the reason the Pakistani government is wary about launching the Waziristan operation is that there is little appetite to remove more troops from the 140,000-strong force that mans the eastern border with India. Two brigades have already left to join the Swat operation. That leaves us very little, a Pakistani intelligence official said. American officials, however, said they have not urged Pakistan to launch the operation because of the scope of problems in the Swat Valley, where two million refugees were displaced by the ongoing military operation there. American officials are concerned that the Pakistani military might not stay in Swat long enough to ensure residents safety. Failing to hold in Swat would be a calamity, said a US official in Pakistan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. I hope theyre thinking about it in terms of a plan and not on a timetable. One Pakistani diplomat said American officials are not happy with the level of coordination involved in providing money and services to the returning refugees. In their heart of hearts, I think they feel that Pakistan will mess up the repatriation, the diplomat said. They feel . . . probably theyll go overboard, they wont resettle them, and youll have a potential quicksand where youll breed another strand of terrorist resistance. Pakistani officials insist that they are focused on the refugees and that they do not want to rush into opening new fronts against the Taliban. Pakistan has already launched two operations into South Waziristan in recent years that failed to dislodge the Taliban. We would not like to do anything haphazardly. If you open so many fronts at the same time, then the danger is you will not achieve success on any front. So we would like to move with utmost circumspection, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit. The tribal areas are a different ballgame and we need to understand how difficult it is. Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, has increased its focus on uniting the Taliban and other groups in the fight against Pakistan, betting its success on the survival of the Taliban, according to intelligence officials. The initial stages of the South Waziristan operation have begun. Pakistani aircraft, along with unmanned American planes, have attacked Mehsuds territory in recent weeks. Soldiers have deployed into neighbouring North Waziristan and have imposed an economic blockade, trying to withhold food and supplies from the Taliban, said a US defence official in Washington. The official said Pakistan likely wants to make sure they have everything working in their favour before they actually pull the trigger on a ground assault. Its the hardest nut to crack, the official said. Theres no doubt about that.