US Offers Pakistan Key Control of Predator Missions

Joint US-Pakistan project seeks to bolster Pakistani government against Taliban
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2009 2:45 AM CDT
The US military has given the Pakistani military control over Predator drone missions.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
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(Newser) – The US military has been flying armed Predator drones over Pakistan and has offered the Pakistani military significant control over the targets and missions, the Los Angeles Times reports. The program—separate from the CIA's drone missions, which Pakistan accuses of violating its sovereignty—began in recent weeks and is aimed at helping the Pakistani military tackle the growing threat from the Taliban.

"This is about building trust," said a senior US military official.  "This is about giving them capabilities they do not currently have." Pakistanis are keen to use the drones to move aggressively against militants, but commanders are reluctant to use American firepower in areas with innocent Pakistani citizens, according to US officials.