"The arrangement that appears to have been reached between the US and Pakistan is that it's OK to cooperate on targeted strikes against al Qaeda leaders," a foreign news agency quoted Seth Jones, a RAND Corp terrorism analyst, as saying.
Seth, who recently returned to Washington after a visit to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, was of the opinion that there were limits to what the present strategy being pursued jointly by Washington and Islamabad could achieve.
He said the unmanned Predator airstrike that apparently killed Abu Laith Al-Libi in a remote area of Pakistan demonstrated that the US had the military reach and intelligence sources to carry out a precision attack on a specific target [in Pakistan] with Pakistan's consent.
"But it's not OK at the moment for US forces to try to clear and hold territory that is controlled by al Qaeda or al Qaeda-related groups in Pakistan," he said.
Libi appears to have been one of 13 foreign militants killed in the North Waziristan border area. The strike followed a push in recent weeks by US officials to extend cooperation with Pakistan.
According to the Daily Times, Jones believes that there had been "minimal activity" in targeting Al Qaeda leaders in their strongholds, partly because US officials were wary of provoking more anti-Americanism within the Pakistani population.
Similar Predator strikes against al Qaeda leaders have met opposition in Pakistan when civilians were killed.
The US involvement has been limited to training Pakistani security forces, supplying equipment such as night vision goggles, and collecting intelligence.