Pakistan secretly in cahoots with US on drone strikes: CIA docs
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Washington: Just hours after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was said to have registered his dissent against the drone strikes during his meeting with US President Barack Obama on Wednesday, a report suggested that the government officials in Islamabad were in cahoots with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) while planning the targeted killings.
The US drone attacks are said to be a constant irritant between US-Pak ties and Pakistan has, in public, reiterated its objections against the attacks to the US government. However, the revelations that the Pakistani government tacitly approved the strikes might further irk the people of Pakistan, who in general have been annoyed by the attacks that also killed many civilians, according to an Amnesty report released recently.
According to a report in the Washington post, which has access to top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos, the files expose the "explicit nature of a secret arrangement struck between the two countries at a time when neither was willing to publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone program".
The article written by Greg Miller and Bob Woodward contains details of the secret files shared between the CIA and Pakistani government and reveals that at least 65 drone strikes were marked for discussion with the government.
The files, according to the report, describe several drone attacks launched in Pakistan`s North Waziristan tribal region from late 2007 to late 2011 and "include maps as well as before-and-after aerial photos of targeted compounds".
The extent of the Pakistani government`s cooperation with the US in launching drone strikes can be estimated from one document according to which in one of the strikes in 2010, the US mentions that the attack was carried out "at the request of your government."
The report goes on to say that during the early years of the campaign, the CIA landed its Predator fleet on Pakistani airstrips.
The timing of the report could not have been better as the Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif met Barack Obama on Wednesday in White House Oval office and mentioned the oft-repeated objection to the drone strikes being carried out in country`s restive tribal belt and urged the US to end the attacks.
The report also surfaced just a couple of days after a report by the London-based rights body Amnesty International said that some of the civilian killings by the US drones amounted to war crimes and that the US must investigate them.
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