US to involve Pakistan for Predator drone strikes
Marking a first such step, Pakistan will be involved in armed US Predator missions against militants in its territory under a new partnership giving its military significant control over drone attacks, American military officials have revealed.world Updated: May 13, 2009 17:49 IST
Marking a first such step, Pakistan will be involved in armed US Predator missions against militants in its territory under a new partnership giving its military significant control over drone attacks, American military officials have revealed.
In an apparent response to strident demands from Pakistani leaders for Drone technology and that the country be involved in Predator missions, the U.S. Military has launched a programme of drone strikes against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in
Pakistan that for the first time gives its officers significant control over routes, targets and decisions to fire weapons, the Los Angeles Times reported today.
The joint effort is aimed at getting the government in Islamabad, which has bitterly protested unilateral Predator strikes, more directly engaged in one of the most successful elements of the battle against insurgents, it said quoting unanamed officials.
It also marks a broad new role for the U.S. Military in hunting the Taliban and its Al Qaeda allies, who pose a growing threat to both Pakistan and Afghanistan. For years, that task has been the domain of the CIA, which has flown its own Predator missions over Pakistan.
Under the new partnership, a separate fleet of U.S. drones operated by the Defense Department will be free for the first time to venture beyond the Afghan border under the direction of Pakistani military officials, who are working alongside American counterparts at a command centre in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
First Published: May 13, 2009 17:48 IST