US drone strikes to continue in Pakistan: Report
By Sajad - Sun Jan 20 2013, 7:40 pm
This comes as US Central Intelligence Agency will be allowed to continue its campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan for a year or more under a new detailed counter-terrorism manual, Washington Post reported.
The classified manual, called a counterterrorism “playbook,” sets out stringent rules with regard to US targeted killings, but it incorporates a carve-out that would allow the CIA to continue bombing suspected militants in Pakistan for “less than two years but more than one.”
According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between 2,627 and 3,457 people have been reportedly killed by US drones in Pakistan since 2004, including between 475 and nearly 900 civilians.
The covert strikes are publicly criticised by the Pakistani government as a violation of sovereignty but American officials believe they are a vital weapon in the war against militants.
Granting the CIA a temporary exemption for its Pakistan operations was described by officials cited by the Post as a “compromise that allowed officials to move forward with other parts of the playbook”.
The Post said the adoption of a formal guide to targeted killing marks a significant milestone: the institutionalisation of a practice that would have seemed anathema to many before the September 11, 2001 attacks.