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article imageU.S. offers concessions over use of drones in Pakistan

By Paul Iddon     Mar 26, 2012 in Politics
Washington has offered concession over its use of drones in Pakistan territory ahead of a meeting between President Barack Obama and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Gillani.
The Obama Administration has offered key concessions to Pakistan over the use of armed CIA drones in Pakistani territory The Associated Press, CNN and The Washington Post reported today.
The CIA drone campaign entails unmanned drones remotely controlled from Nevada and flying from U.S. bases in Afghanistan and targeting and eliminating suspected al-Qaeda forces within Pakistan.
The CIA clearly wants to keep what it sees as an important campaign going and is therefore offering the Pakistanis intelligence about strikes in advance (they had previously stopped doing this as it resulted in their targets getting away), as well as setting limits on the types of targets they give authorization to the drone controllers to strike.
This appears to be a bid by Washington to get Pakistan to tolerate the drone strikes by making significant changes to the policy with the overall aim of keeping the drone campaign going and not having it hampered through the current diplomat fervor.
Pakistan's parliament is this week debating over whether or not the country should tell the United States to stop the drone strikes within its territory. The committee that forwarded this issue for debate has asserted that "no overt or covert operations inside Pakistan shall be tolerated."
U.S. Pakistani relations are becoming tense since Osama Bin Laden was found in a large compound in Abbottabad and assassinated in a covert U.S. raid into the country in May last year and 24 Pakistani troops were also killed in a border incident a few weeks ago by U.S. forces whom believed they were under fire from a Pakistani border post.
The Pakistani rejection of this U.S. offer signals that today's meeting between Obama and Prime Minister Gillani in Seoul may be a pivotal moment in the future of U.S. Pakistani relations.
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