29 October 2013
Pakistan approved and collaborated with US drone strikes
The Washington Post reported that despite having repeatedly denounced the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) drone campaign, top officials in Pakistan’s government have for years (secretly) endorsed the programme, and regularly received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts. Also, during the early years of the campaign, the CIA used Pakistani airstrips for its Predator fleet.
According to leaked top-secret CIA documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos, Pakistan was not only regularly briefed on the strikes, in some cases it helped choose targets, or collaborated in a four-year period from late 2007, when military ruler Pervez Musharraf was in power, to late 2011 when a civilian government led by the Pakistan People’s Party had taken over. In April 2013, Musharraf told CNN that he had authorised drone strikes in Pakistan while he was in power. However, Pakistani security officials and former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (2008-June 2012) denied that they had approved US drone strikes on the country’s soil, although a diplomatic cable from then-US ambassador Anne Patterson from August 2008, released by WikiLeaks, indicated Gilani had agreed to the strikes in private.
The Washington Post said the leaked documents showed the CIA, who runs the drone programme, drafted documents to share information on at least 65 attacks with Pakistan’s government. In 2010, a document describes hitting a location ‘at the request of your government’, and another document refers to a joint targeting effort between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.