Pak to only get 'unarmed shadow' drones fleet by year-end: US official

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Washington, Mar.30 (ANI): Pakistan is likely to get a fleet of unmanned-surveillance aircrafts from the US by the year end, but the armed drones, for which it has been pestering Washington is still far from its reach, a top US military official has said.

It may be noted that US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, during his recent Pakistan visit, had offered the unarmed 'shadow' drones, but Islamabad is still to ascertain the viability of the surveillance drones.

"I would like to think that we would get them there within a year," the US official said while talking to media persons on conditions of anonymity.

"We looked at Shadows. We looked at Scan Eagles and other tactical UAVs that are out and about and what we want to do is try to find out which model is best," The Daily Times quoted the official, as saying.

Pakistan has been pressing the White House to provide it armed drones or the technology itself, so that it can carry out missile hits against extremist hideouts in the ungoverned tribal areas along the Afghanistan border, but the US so far, has turned down all such requests.

Although Pakistan publicly opposes the attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and fuel anti-Americanism among the population, it is believed that it was sharing intelligence with the US about the insurgents and their hide-outs.

"The general US policy is not to export weaponised capabilities of any drone aircraft," the official said. (ANI)

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