US Airstrikes Signal Tough Approach in Pakistan

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2009 12:58 PM CST
Pakistani protesters rally in favor Barack Obama in Hyderabad, Pakistan.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – US airstrikes on suspected terrorist camps in Pakistan yesterday signal that the Obama administration will continue the aggressive US strategy against extremists in the region, the Washington Post reports. In fact, early signs suggest a tougher approach—and less patience—with the Pakistani government. The attacks, carried out by Predator drones based across the border in Afghanistan, killed at least 20 people, with one "high-value" target thought to be among the dead.

The strikes are the first to occur under Obama's watch and follow the Bush military blueprint. But Obama’s policy differs in that he has pledged a big increase in non-military aid to Pakistan, a move that could soften populist opposition to the occasional airstrike. At the same time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate that the US would cut aid to Pakistan's military—long a cornerstone of the two nations' relations—unless real progress is made against militants.