New York, Mar 24: The Musharraf regime has indirectly approved the US Drone (pilotless plane) attacks on al Qaeda targets in tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. Since January, missiles have been fired from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operated Predator drones and have hit at least three suspected hideouts of Islamic militants, including a strike on March 16 in Toog village in South Waziristan that left 20 dead.
Sources said that the recent wave of Predator attacks are the result of Musharraf's understanding with the US officials and other top Pakistanis which gave Washington virtually unrestricted authority to hit targets in the border areas. The surge began after senior US official's visit to Pakistan including Intelligence Czar Mike McConnell, CIA Director General Michael Hayden and William Fallon, who recently resigned as Commander of the US forces in the region.
Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA expert on the region, said that a new wave of terrorism inside Pakistan (there were 62 suicide attacks last year, after just six in 2006) has forced Musharraf and the new military chief Ashfaq Kayani to acknowledge that the extremists threatening Americans now also pose a growing threat to Pakistan's internal security.