May 13, 2009

SAVE THE CIA FOR THE PNES PAKISTAN DOESN'T APPROVE OF:

Pakistan gets a say in drone attacks on militants: Islamabad and the U.S. military team up to carry out Predator attacks on the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The program marks broad new roles for both. (Julian E. Barnes and Greg Miller, May 13, 2009, LA Times)

The U.S. military has launched a program of armed Predator drone missions against militants in Pakistan that for the first time gives Pakistani officers significant control over routes, targets and decisions to fire weapons, U.S. officials said.

The joint effort is aimed at getting the government in Islamabad, which has bitterly protested Predator strikes, more directly engaged in one of the most successful elements of the battle against Islamist insurgents.

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 center in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 13, 2009 8:12 AM
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