US Drones Back Up Pakistani Offensive

Predators offer intel on militant positions in South Waziristan
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2009 9:03 AM CDT
A Predator drone.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The US military is supporting the Pakistani offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan with intelligence and imaging collected by unmanned Predator drones. The support is separate from the CIA program using the drones inside Pakistan to kill terrorist leaders. “We are coordinating with the Pakistanis,” a military official tells the Los Angeles Times. “And we do provide Predator support when requested.”

The material cooperation between the US and Pakistani militaries is unheard of, as the troubled nation has sought to appear independent of its western ally. But “the Pakistanis are getting more and more serious about the militant threat,” the official continues. Insiders say the intelligence focuses on the Taliban’s supply routes and locations. “In this situation, a relatively conventional ground offensive, the Pakistanis want the ability to see over the hill,” a historian says. “And in that, US drones can be a lot of help.”