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'Musharraf okayed US attacks on Qaeda'

A report said that the Musharraf regime had given a 'tacit' approval to the US attacks on Al-Qaeda targets along the Pakistan border.

world Updated: Mar 24, 2008 17:38 IST

The Musharraf regime has given "tacit" approval to the US attacks by pilotless planes on Al- Qaeda targets along Pakistan's restive border area and the strikes have been stepped up as officials in New York fear that the new civilian government will be hostile to such an offensive.

Since January, missiles reportedly fired from CIA operated Predator drones have hit at least three suspected hideouts of Islamic militants, including a strike on March 16 in Toog village in South Waziristan that left 20 dead.

The Newsweek quoting US officials and Pakistani sources said the recent wave of Predator attacks are at least partly the result of understandings the US officials reached with Musharraf and other top Pakistanis, giving Washington virtually unrestricted authority to hit targets in the border areas.

The surge, says the magazine in its upcoming issue, began after visits to Pakistan at the beginning of the year by senior US officials, including intelligence czar Mike McConnell, CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden and Adm. William Fallon, who recently resigned as commander of the US forces in the region.

Some news reports had said at the time that President Pervez Musharraf had "rebuffed" US proposals to step up combat operations inside Pakistan.

Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA expert on the region, said that a new wave of terrorism inside Pakistan there were 62 suicide attacks last year, after just six in 2006 has forced Musharraf and the new military chief Ashfaq Kayani to acknowledge that the extremists threatening Americans now also pose a growing threat to Pakistan's internal security.