CIA steps up drone attacks in Pakistan

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Islamabad, Sep 28 (ANI): The Obama administration has enthusiastically embraced the CIA's drone program, an ambitious and historically unusual war campaign by American spies, which has launched nearly four times as many attacks in 2009 and 2010 as it did during the final year of the Bush administration, according to The Long War Journal.

As part of its covert war in Afghanistan, the CIA has launched 20 drone attacks in Pakistan, thus far in September, the most ever during a single month, and more than twice the number in a typical month, the New York Times reported.

An American official revealed that the recent strikes had been aimed at several groups, including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban, as the United States hoped to "keep the pressure on as long as we can."

As an evidence of the growing frustration that Pakistan's government has not been aggressive enough in dislodging militants from their bases in the country's western mountains, General David H. Petraeus, the top American commander in Afghanistan, has recently issued veiled warnings to top Pakistani commanders that the US could launch unilateral ground operations in the tribal areas if Pakistan refused to dismantle the militant networks in North Waziristan, according to American officials.

"Petraeus wants to turn up the heat on the safe havens," said one senior administration official, explaining the sharp increase in drone strikes. "He has pointed out to the Pakistanis that they could do more."

Beyond the CIA drone strikes, the war in the region is escalating in other ways. In recent days, American military helicopters have launched three airstrikes in Pakistan that killed over 50 people suspected of being members of the Haqqani network, which has been responsible for a spate of deadly attacks against American troops.

But the CIA's campaign has also raised concerns that the drone strikes are fuelling anger in the Muslim world. The Times Square bomber told a judge that the CIA drone campaign was one of the factors that led him to attack the Americans. (ANI)

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