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US drones regularly target terrorist in Pak: Obama

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 15:04

Washington: American drones regularly target
terrorists in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)
of Pakistan, President Barack Obama on Tuesday said in a first such
acknowledgment by the top US leadership on its highly
successful but secretive programme.

"A lot of these strikes have been in the FATA, and going
after al-Qaeda suspects who are up in very tough terrain along
the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan," Obama said in
response to a question during his first Google+ and You Tube
live web chat from the White House.

"For us to be able to get them in another way would
involve probably a lot more intrusive military action than the
ones we`re already engaging in," Obama said.

More than 130,000 questions were received, the White
House said.

Obama said these strikes by unmanned drones are regularly
carried out and these are "targeted focussed effort at people
who are on a list of active terrorists".

"For the most part, they`ve been very precise precision
strikes against al-Qaeda and their affiliates, and we`re very
careful in terms of how it`s been applied," he said,
responding to the question.

This is for the first time that the US has publicly
acknowledged the drone attacks inside Pakistan. The United
States so far had refrained from publicly speaking on this

According to the US media, 64 US missile strikes were
reported in the area in 2011, down from 101 in 2010. The US
drone attacks have been increased during Obama`s presidency.

Obama claimed that drones have not caused huge number of
civilians casualties.

"I want to make sure that people understand, actually
drones have not caused huge number of civilians casualties...

This is a targeted focussed effort at people who are on a list
of active terrorists," he said.

On Pakistan`s cooperation in war on terror, Obama said:
"I do agree that a country like Pakistan is one where our
relations have got more strained because there are a lot of
extremists inside their country and either for lack of
capacity or political will they haven`t taken them all on."

"In some cases, they have been very cooperative, in some
cases not as much as we want," he added.

First Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 12:08
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