The US has recalibrated its antiterror campaign in Pakistan, backing off ground raids via the Afghan border and intensifying its CIA-led airstrikes against militants. The Pakistani government had lodged bitter complaints about the ground operations, the New York Times reports, which were seen as a violation of the country's sovereignty. The US has in response sharply increased its Predator airstrikes, notching 18 since August.
American intelligence is seeking to break the grip of al-Qaeda and the Taliban on the North West Frontier Province, the nearly lawless mountain region on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. But US officials admit that, without a ground operation, capturing militants and obtaining information about top al-Qaeda leaders is impossible. One senior officer told the Times, "They don't have a concept of counterinsurgency operations. It's generally a heavy punch and then they leave."