Obama confirms use of drones in Pakistan

truther February 1, 2012 0

U.S. President Barack Obama President Barack Obama has confirmed that the United States has used CIA assassination drones to strike targets in the northwestern tribal belt of Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.

In reply to questions about the use of terror drones by his administration in a chat with web users on Google+ and YouTube on Monday, the US president said, “a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA” — Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas, AFP reported.
“For the most part, they’ve been very precise precision strikes against al-Qaeda and their affiliates, and we’re very careful in terms of how it’s been applied,” Obama said.
According to Press TV, this is the first time Washington has acknowledged using the remotely piloted aircraft to strike targets within Pakistan.
The U.S. regularly uses unmanned aircraft for attacks on Pakistan’s tribal regions, claiming the airstrikes target Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, but locals say civilians are the main victims of the assaults.
The aerial attacks were initiated by former U.S. President George W. Bush but have been escalated under President Barack Obama.
The U.S. resumed its drone operations in Pakistan in recent days after it halted the strikes in November 2011, when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed in NATO airstrikes at two checkpoints on the Afghan border.
The airstrikes sparked angry protests across Pakistan.
In response to the attack, Islamabad closed the border crossings used to transfer NATO supplies into landlocked Afghanistan and ordered all U.S. personnel to vacate a remote airfield in Balochistan province that was supposedly used to launch drone attacks.
In the same interview,, Obama downplayed a recent report about the use of U.S. drones in Iraq, indicating that the unmanned aircraft are mainly used for embassy surveillance.
He said that a New York Times story citing Iraqi officials as expressing outrage over the use of U.S. drones following last year’s troop withdrawal was “a little overwritten.”
“The truth of the matter is we’re not engaging in a bunch of drone attacks inside of Iraq. There’s some surveillance to make sure that our embassy compound is protected,” he stated.
The New York Times report said the State Department began operating some drones in Iraq last year on a trial basis and stepped up their use after the last U.S. troops left the country in December, ending the nine-year conflict.
The State Department drones carry no weapons and are meant to provide data and images of possible hazards, like public protests or roadblocks, to security forces on the ground, it said.

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