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Drone strikes inside Pakistan successful, says CIA chief

CIA Director Leon Panetta has said that the US aerial attacks against Al-Qaeda and other extremist strongholds inside Pakistan have been successful and would continue despite concerns about a popular Pakistani backlash.

world Updated: Feb 27, 2009 07:45 IST

CIA Director Leon Panetta has said that the US aerial attacks against Al-Qaeda and other extremist strongholds inside Pakistan have been successful and would continue despite concerns about a popular Pakistani backlash.

He said the drone strikes have so far turned successful in accomplishing goals.

"Nothing has changed our efforts to go after terrorists, and nothing will change those efforts," Panetta said in response to questions about CIA missile attacks launched from unmanned Predator aircraft.

Although he refused to discuss details of the attacks, Panetta said the efforts begun under former president George W Bush to destabilise Al-Qaeda and destroy its leadership, which "have been successful".

"I don't think we can stop just at the effort to try to disrupt them. I think it has to be a continuing effort, because they aren't going to stop," Panetta said in his first news briefing since taking the job.

The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) has launched about three-dozen drone (pilotless aircraft) attacks in Pakistan, and two of them during President Barack Obama's administration, Geo TV reported on Thursday.