Army denies NYT story of possibly conducting drone strikes

Published: March 5, 2013

The New York Times had reported that two drone strikes had swooped into remote areas, killing up to nine people, including two senior commanders of Al Qaeda.

RAWALPINDI: After a news report published in the New York Times on Tuesday claimed that the US had not conducted two drone strikes in early February, rather it may have been Pakistan, an Inter-services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson termed the accusation a  distortion of the facts. 

In a statement issued in Rawalpindi, the spokesperson denied any operation conducted by Pakistan’s security forces, including air strikes in the tribal belt in early February, as mentioned in the New York Times report.

“Such an accusation is a distortion of the facts and seems to be aimed at diluting Pakistan’s stance on drone strikes,” the statement read.

Earlier on Tuesday, the American daily had reported that the CIA, which operates the drone programme, had denied the strikes. Previously, the CIA has never confirmed nor denied drone strikes.

The strikes in question were carried out on February 6 and February 8 and had killed up to nine people, including two senior commanders of al Qaeda in early February. Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry had also lodged an official protest with the American Embassy over the incidents.

“They were not ours,” an official with knowledge of the programme, told the publication on the condition of anonymity. “We haven’t had any kinetic activity since January.”

The Americans’ best guess was that one or possibly both of the strikes were carried out by the Pakistani military and falsely attributed to the CIA to avoid criticism from the Pakistani public, reported the daily.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Mar 5, 2013 - 6:30PM

    Would like to hear the version of PTI and JI on this one!

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  • anwar
    Mar 5, 2013 - 6:34PM

    Ok this TV sitcom just got interesting.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    Mar 5, 2013 - 6:40PM

    since 1947 we are in denial keep doing it bro,……

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  • Ssabi
    Mar 5, 2013 - 7:09PM

    So Pakistan has its own drone! but to courage to use it.

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  • Shahram Baloch
    Mar 5, 2013 - 7:59PM

    Only problem is that pakistan doesnt have armed drones.. Pakistan had to buy servailance version when Italian government refused. So clearly, Americans are upto mischief.

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  • Singh
    Mar 5, 2013 - 8:01PM

    If it is true then in fact kudos to Pakistan Army having this capability. It should be pride moment for Pakistan people on this technological achievement after USA.

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  • Mar 5, 2013 - 8:06PM

    @Ali Tanoli
    just for sake of getting out of “Denial Mode”, you want that Pak Army should accept it despite the fact that we DO NOT possess Armed Drones?
    @S. Ali Raza Abidi
    Why don’t we hear PPP version of this? because its PPP leaders, including Mr Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal BHUTTO Zardari, who frequently visit FATA to see the plight of common people and to boost the morale of their troops. Actually PTI and JI do not know where FATA is

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  • Mochi
    Mar 5, 2013 - 8:31PM

    @Ssabi/Shahram Baloch.
    It just says strike not drone strike.

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  • afzaalkhan
    Mar 5, 2013 - 9:06PM

    That settles it CIA has spoken the bastion of truth so it must be true :)

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  • Muhammad Ahsan KHAN
    Mar 5, 2013 - 9:08PM

    “They were not ours,”

    The were not ours indicate that we have them.

    Do we have the infrastructure, tecnology, resources to make them and expert technitians to fly, chase and kill?

    If we had them, we would have used them in Blochistan since long ago.

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  • ivehadit
    Mar 5, 2013 - 9:22PM

    the comments are totally in hyper space. Rather than examining the plight of the civilian victims of the drone strikes, people seem awestruck by the alleged or implied technological capability of the Pakistan Army.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Mar 5, 2013 - 9:30PM

    We should believe what our Pakistan Army is saying.

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  • Pakistani
    Mar 5, 2013 - 9:45PM

    Oh is there a third-party too in this country? Interesting.

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  • COAS Kiyani.
    Mar 5, 2013 - 10:58PM

    Impossible. I wake up very late every day.

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  • Maj
    Mar 5, 2013 - 11:39PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    paraphrasing Lincoln “national security is too important to be left to generals”. Looks what happened in 1971, and look what is happening today in Pakistan.Recommend

  • clear
    Mar 6, 2013 - 12:11AM

    It article clearly says that Pakistan carried out air strikes and blamed them on foreign drone strikes for public consumption.

    Pakistan doesn’t have a drone capability, it would need complete access to U.S. Military GPS and network satellite technology which is only open to NATO Member nations.

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  • Roni
    Mar 6, 2013 - 12:13AM

    The army must be right and we should believe their denial. They always deny the false claims of the US even if they are in one of the many media publications. They do not deny the facts like the US finding and killing OBL in our army base.

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  • jawed sardar
    Mar 6, 2013 - 12:15AM

    If NYT news is incorrect then why not the Army is suing the New York Times for the false news. Otherwise it will be fair to beleive the news published in NYT is correct. During Musharraf time it was said that Pak soil is not used for drones attacks which was later leaked out to be incorrect.

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  • umar
    Mar 6, 2013 - 12:30AM

    Whoever operated it…..if terrorists were killed..then Pakistani nation is the winner. We should garner all our resources and capabilities to fight the militants in the tribal areas. We need the emotions and courage that was witnessed in 1965 to defeat these maniacs. Pop singers should sing patriotic songs for the soldiers and general public should exhibit their support for the army.

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  • hk
    Mar 6, 2013 - 1:01AM

    Pakistan has a secret drones programme supplied and funded by China to counter India. Pakistan posseses 15 -20 Chinese CH-3 drones. CH-3 drones can be found here: http://chinesemilitaryreview.blogspot.in/2011/10/chinese-ch-3-unmanned-combat-aerial.html

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  • haider
    Mar 6, 2013 - 1:05AM

    Pakistan has an armed drone programme. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burraq_(UAV). It is based on Chinese Ch-3 drones. The military may have tested those on real level on that day.

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  • numbersnumbers
    Mar 6, 2013 - 3:01AM

    @Roni:
    But they did deny the presence of Osama bin Laden inside Pakistan before the famous Abbottabad raid!
    In any case, the local development (with or without Chinese help) of armed drones for the Pakistani army has been reported in Wikipedia (and long expected)!
    The denial by Americans that their drones were involved in these attacks is a telling indication of the emerging Drone Strike capability of Pakistani armed forces!
    Remember that the Americans almost exclusively targeted the “Good Taliban” (with the necessary assistance of ISI forward spotters), so this development means that now the Pakistani drone strike program can concentrate on striking the TTP “Bad Taliban”/militants (and if so desired, the LeJ and LeT types) Almost ANYWHERE IN PAKISTAN!

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  • Something Clever
    Mar 6, 2013 - 3:16AM

    It’s pointless for the US to deny just two strikes and those strikes actually being ones that hit leadership of the groups. But that is not what makes the Pakistani Army look like they approve of the method. The fact Pakistan has said that if it was given the technology it would carry out strikes is what does it.

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  • WB
    Mar 6, 2013 - 3:52AM

    Its the same NYT that claimed that Saddam had weapons of mass destructions! Sadly our “free” media is always ready to jump to conclusions and blame the army for everything!

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  • clear
    Mar 6, 2013 - 6:51AM

    CH-3 Drones? Propeller driven drones? Those are toys, they’re not long range precision strike capable aircraft. They’re just large remote control planes with camera’s with radio based communications.

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  • Goram Lashari
    Mar 6, 2013 - 3:46PM

    here is one possible answer.. see the story below

    although the story says they are not armed but that could very well be a diplomatic double speak… it is likely that afghans conducted these strikes…of course with US supervision….

    “On Its Way Out, the US Will Give Afghanistan Its Very Own Fleet of Drones”
    http://news.yahoo.com/way-us-afghanistan-very-own-fleet-drones-030715627.html

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  • anwar
    Mar 6, 2013 - 5:46PM

    @Ssabi: could be renegade Afghan units (clearly they are NOT US

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  • Ahmed
    Mar 7, 2013 - 7:59AM

    @haider: Anyone can put a bomb on a drone but the fact is Pakistan doesn’t have the precision weaponry for drones. Precision weaponry require prevision guidance and we don’t have a guidance or satellite system in place.

    Try to learn facts for a change.

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