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Rediff.com  » News » White House approves expansion of drone attacks in Pak

White House approves expansion of drone attacks in Pak

December 04, 2009 12:29 IST

The White House has authorised an expansion of the successful drone attacks of the Central Investigation Agencies in the tribal areas of Pakistan, a media report said on Friday.

"The White House has authorised an expansion of the CIA's drone programme in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas, officials said this week, to parallel the (US) President's decision, announced Tuesday, to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan," The New York Times said in a news report.

According to the daily, American officials are talking with Pakistan about the possibility of striking in Balochistan for the first time -- a controversial move since it is outside the tribal areas -- because that is where Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to hide.

The NYT said that CIA officials consider it as a highly successful programme as drone attacks have been able to successfully eliminate a large number of terrorist leaders.

"One of Washington's worst-kept secrets, the drone programme is quietly hailed by counter-terrorism officials as a resounding success, eliminating key terrorists and throwing their operations into disarray," it said.

"But despite close cooperation from Pakistani intelligence, the programme has generated public anger in Pakistan, and some counterinsurgency experts wonder whether it does more harm than good," the daily said.

Hundreds of militants, including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, have been killed so far in the dozens of drone attacks inside Pakistan.