CIA May Launch New Covert Ops in Pakistan

Seeks to thwart al-Qaeda muscle; but Pakistan won't stand for it
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2008 7:32 AM CST
An armed supporter of the Pakistani radical Islamic group 'Lashkar Islam or Army of Islam' keeps guard during a rally in Bara, the main town of Pakistan's lawless Khyber tribal region near the Afghan...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Bush administration officials are weighing plans for the CIA and US military to conduct new, more aggressive covert operations in Pakistan, the New York Times reports. The proposal is a response to growing al-Qaeda and Taliban efforts to destabilize Pakistan, cast in sharp focus by the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Pakistan officials, however, say they will not allow such operations.

"It is not up to the US administration; it is Pakistan's government who is responsible for this country," a Pakistani leader told AFP in response to the Times report. US diplomats and military officials warn that American-led operations in tribal areas along the Afghan border could backfire, further weakening the already unpopular Musharraf government.