Pakistan, US tacitly agreed on air strikes

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Washington, Nov 16 (UNI) The United States and Pakistan reached tacit agreement in September on a don't-ask-don't-tell policy that allows unmanned Predator aircraft to attack suspected terrorist targets in rugged western Pakistan, according to a US daily.

The Washington Post, quoting senior officials in both countries, reported that in recent months, the US drones have fired missiles at Pakistani soil at an average rate of once every four or five days.

The officials described the deal as one in which the US government refuses to publicly acknowledge the attacks while Pakistan's government continues to complain noisily about the politically sensitive strikes.

The arrangement coincided with a suspension of ground assaults into Pakistan by helicopter-borne US commandos.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari said in an interview last week that he was aware of no ground attacks since the one on September 3 that his government vigorously protested.

Officials described the attacks, using new technology and improved intelligence, as a significant improvement in the fight against Pakistan-based al-Qaeda and Taliban forces.

Officials confirmed the deaths of at least three senior al-Qaeda figures in strikes last month.

UNI XC SKB SK KP1759

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