Pakistani military refutes NYT reports on drone strikes



Islamabad: The Pakistani military on Tuesday rejected a media report that suggested it had tried to pass off two attacks on militants in the restive tribal areas as US drone strikes.

A spokesman for the Inter-Services Public Relations reacted to the report in The New York Times by saying that "such an accusation is a distortion of the facts and seems to be aimed at diluting Pakistan's stance on drone strikes".

The report had quoted three unnamed American officials as saying that the CIA had not carried out two recent drone strikes that were widely reported in the Pakistani and international media.

Media reports had said that 12 militants, including two al Qaeda commanders and four Uzbek fighters, were killed in the drone strikes carried out February 6 and February 8.

The New York Times quoted two unnamed officials as saying that there was "no American involvement in the attacks".

A third US official said "American intelligence pointed to the Pakistan Air Force as having conducted the first strike" while the second attack "could have been the Pakistani military" or "the Taliban fighting among themselves".

However, the ISPR spokesman denied Pakistani security forces had carried out any operation, including air strikes, in the area on the dates mentioned in news reports.

The Pakistan government and military publicly oppose the attacks by the CIA-operated spy planes, saying they are counter-productive and a violation of the country's sovereignty.

However, numerous reports have suggested that Pakistan tacitly backs the drone campaign.

PTI