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Obama quietly authorised more strikes in Pak: Report

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 02, 2009 13:51 IST
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As the US announced deepening of its involvement in Afghanistan by despatching 30,000 more troops, President Barack Obama has quietly authorised an expansion of war against terrorism in Pakistan under which CIA would widen its campaign of strikes against militants by unmanned drones.

The expanded operations by the CIA could include drone strikes in the southern province of Baluchistan, where senior Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding, New York Times reported today quoting officials.

CIA has submitted its plan to widen its campaign in Pakistan to the White House and has asked for commitment to jack up the agency's budget for operations inside the country.

CIA also wants to send more spies into the terrorist-infested areas in Pakistan's tribal belt to try to infiltrate into groups like Taliban and other foreign militant groups.

But the Times said, Obama Administration was aware that any expansion of overt American presence in Pakistan could fuel anti-Americanism in a country that fears that US is plotting to run its government and seize its nuclear weapons.

So, the paper said Obama officials were working to get a weak, divided and suspicious Pakistani government to agree to the terms.

New York Times, quoting US officials, said that authorizing drone strikes in Baluchistan was also planned as Americans believe that it is from there that top Taliban leaders direct many of the attacks on their troops in Afghanistan and that these are likely to increase as more US troops pour into the country.

The President endorsed intensification of the campaign against the al-Qaeda and its violent allies including even more operations targeting terrorist safe havens.

This message was delivered recently to Pakistani leaders and officials by General James Jones, the National Security Adviser. But the Pakistanis suspicious of Obama's intension have not yet agreed.

In his address to the cadets at the West Point Academy, the US President said that the murky border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan offers refuge to extremists of many strifes.

Obama identified the region as the birthplace of the September 11, 2001 attacks and said it was from here that new attacks are being plotted.

The stakes are much higher now, Obama said as al-Qaeda and other extremist groups were seeking nuclear weapons and "we have every reason to believe that they would use them.



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