US to carry on drone strikes despite Pak’s protest

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 18:27

Peshawar/Washington: The United Sates is
going ahead with its deadly drone strikes on select terrorists
targets inside Pakistan despite strong objections raised by
Islamabad, with an attack on Wednesday killing six Taliban militants
in Pakistan`s northwest.

The Obama administration has ruled out halting the
strikes by the CIA operated unmanned planes, which have been
billed as the most potent anti-terror weapon, ABC news
reported quoting unnamed US officials.

"Panetta (CIA chief) has an obligation to protect this
country (US) and he`s not going to halt any operations that
accomplish that objective," the report said.

Pakistan`s intelligence chief Lt Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha
had conveyed his government`s strong opposition to the strikes
and said Islamabad wanted to halt drone operations in his
country.

Citing officials ABC said the US believed that the
pitch for scaling down American covert operations in Pakistan
was not coming from the civilian government but from the
powerful army which wanted to use it to score political
points.

CIA chief Leon Panetta met Pasha at CIA headquarters
in Langley for two hours and 25 minutes and they were later
joined by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral
Mike Mullen.

US officials also believed that the reports that
intelligence cooperation between Islamabad and Washington had
broken down were "over written" for public postures in
Islamabad.

But, State Department spokesperson Mark Toner
acknowledged that Obama administration was negotiating with
Pakistan on possible reduction in US intelligence operatives
and special forces personnel there.

The two countries are yet to take a final decision on
this, he said.

Hours after the comments by the US officials that
drone strikes will go ahead, CIA operated an unmanned spy
plane that fired missiles at a militant compound in South
Waziristhan in Pakistan`s restive northwest, killing six
Taliban militants.

Five hellfire missiles were fired at a compound in
Gharr village in Angoor Adda area near the border with
Afghanistan.

This was the first strike after a lull since March 17
after a row between the two countries over the issue of
killing over 40 people, mostly tribal elders in a drone
strike.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 18:27

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