US resumes secret drone surveillance to help Pak Army nab Mehsud

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Washington, June 30 (ANI): With the Pakistan Army intensifying its offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) chief Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan, the United States, with an aim to provide a wide array of videos and other information on the extremists' movements, has resumed secret drone surveillance over the lawless tribal areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, US and Pakistan officials said.

The secret surveillance drone flights would provide the Pakistan security forces real-time video feeds, communications intercepts and other information, to assist them hunt down the Taliban chieftain and dismantle his terror network, The New York Times reports.

Under the arrangement, Pakistan's on-ground forces would receive direct information from the unmanned US military aircraft, a top US defense official said.

"The agreement allows the Pakistani military to request that the American military drones fly non-combat surveillance missions over certain swaths of territory in South Waziristan where it suspects militant activity," another US official added.

The video feeds from the drones would be relayed to a joint coordination center set-up at the Khyber Pass, where it would be monitored by the Pakistan military, and then transferred to command centers in Pakistan, he said.

The United States has increased its assistance to the Pakistan Army in the field of intelligence and surveillance in the recent past.

"There has been a lot of improvement in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (I.S.R) related U.S. support to Pakistan," a senior Pakistani security official said.

However, there has been no confirmation regarding the resumption of the surveillance flights either from the White House or the US Defense Department. (ANI)

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