U.S., Pakistan to Jointly Operate Drone Attacks
13 May 09 | PTV
Pakistan’s military is planning to join hands with the U.S. in the controversial drone attacks against militants, which usually result in civilian casualties.
U.S. officials familiar with the program said on Wednesday that the U.S. military would give Pakistani officers significant control over targets, flight routes and decisions to launch attacks under a new joint operation.
“This is about building trust. This is about giving them capabilities they do not currently have to help them defeat this radical extreme element that is in their country,” the Los Angeles Times quoted a senior U.S. military official as saying.
The tribal regions along the shared border between Pakistan and Afghanistan have become a usual target of U.S. drone attacks — which are in most cases acknowledged by Washington.
Over 600 people have been killed in such attacks, which started under the Bush administration.
Islamabad had earlier said that the drone attacks threatened the country’s sovereignty and fuel public anger toward the White House.
The development comes as Pakistani military intensified its offensives against the Taliban in Swat in a bid to root out insurgency from the troubled northwestern valley.
Military sources put at 800 the number of insurgents killed since April 26 — when the offensives began from the Lower Dir and Buner districts, located about 100 km (60 miles) from the capital Islamabad.
The Pakistan People Party (PPP)-led government says that the country is fighting against the Taliban for its own survival and not as part of a proxy war for Washington.
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