Pak, US jointly flew 12 drone missions over tribal areas in March

June 2nd, 2009 - 3:01 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 2 (ANI): The United States and Pakistan jointly flew 12 drone missions over the tribal areas in March until Islamabad abandoned the mission, the Washington Post claims.

Paying heed to Pakistan continuous demand of a joint drone missions into the tribal areas, US forces offered a compromise in early spring.

They said that Pakistan could direct US military Predators over areas of its choice, transmitting images directly into its own intelligence channels.

The ground equipment was established at a joint cooperation centre on the Afghanistan side after Pakistan refused to allow the downlink to be set up on its side of the border.

Pakistani officials were also taken to Turkey to observe a similar programme.

Twelve joint missions were flown over the tribal regions near the border between March 10 and 15.

However, the Pakistanis abandoned the “US proof of drone concept” project in mid-April.

“They just did not ask for additional flight information. Any time we have asked them if they need anything, they’ve come back and said, ‘No, thank you’,” The Dawn quoted a US official, as saying.

According to a Pakistani official, Islamabad wanted to continue the joint mission, but its attention was now focussed farther east, on the ongoing Swat offensive.

“US overflights there were not wanted. We don’t want the American unmanned aerial vehicles going so deep into Pakistani territory,” he said. (ANI)

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