US seeks to widen drone operation areas

By AFP
Published: November 20, 2010

More than 220 people have been killed in Pakistan in over 40 drone strikes since September. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: The United States is seeking to expand the areas inside Pakistan where Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) drones can operate, The Washington Post reported late Friday.

Citing unnamed US and Pakistani officials, the newspaper said US officials were eyeing areas surrounding the Pakistani city of Quetta, where the Taliban leadership is believed to be hiding.

But the request also seeks to expand the boundaries for drone strikes in the tribal areas, the report said.

On Friday a US drone attack destroyed a vehicle in Pakistan’s tribal district of North Waziristan, killing at least three suspected militants, Pakistani security officials said.

The United States considers Pakistan’s tribal belt an al Qaeda headquarters and the most dangerous place on Earth, and has reportedly criticised Pakistan’s failure so far to launch a major ground offensive in North Waziristan.

Friday’s drone strike comes three days after a similar attack killed at least 15 militants and destroyed a training centre north of Miranshah.

More than 220 people have been killed in Pakistan in over 40 strikes since September 3.

But The Post said Pakistan has rejected the request. Instead, the country has agreed to more modest measures, including an expanded CIA presence in Quetta.

“You expect us to open the skies for anything that you can fly,” the paper quotes a high-ranking Pakistani intelligence official as saying. “In which country can you do that?”

Reader Comments (4)

  • Ben
    Nov 20, 2010 - 12:13PM

    When US wants to attack Balochistan through drones on the pretext of Quetta Shura, it puzzles many minds because Quetta, Balochistan capital, is not a place where attacks on NATO are planned. It is 80 miles from Afghan border and there is no evidence that this city or its suburbs are Taliban safe havens. One reason which comes to mind is that USA and India are already trying to destabilize Balochistan for various reasons and the present plan to use drones is to destabilize Balochistan on fast track. Read more at: link textRecommend

  • Someone
    Nov 20, 2010 - 12:35PM

    “But The Post said Pakistan has rejected the request. Instead, the country has agreed to more modest measures, including an expanded CIA presence in Quetta.”
    That’s suicide. Shame on Pakistan and its ISI. I hope we don’t reach the time when the Americans will start demanding CIA presence in Karachi and Lahore tooRecommend

  • Pakistani born in Europe....
    Nov 20, 2010 - 9:03PM

    The CIA already has presence in Karachi and Lahore……Recommend

  • Ahmer Ali
    Nov 21, 2010 - 11:13AM

    Assalam-o-Allaikum Warahmatullah.Daily new demands from USA to grant access of Drone attacks show that there is no foreign policy of Pakistani government to show sovereignty and present corrupt leaders are fooling and deceiving the whole nation by giving this statement that “we shall protect Pakistan’s sovereignty at all costs” and it is truly said that the beggars are given aid only for aid-providers own interests and this US officials’ statement proves it very well.Already USA has access for Drone attacks near tribal areas of Afghanistan-Pakistan border and US Drones are killing a lot of innocent muslims on the name of terrorism and extremism and now US officials are trying to get more access in more areas for Drone attacks.Recommend

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