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.