U.S. “disavows” February drone strikes in Pakistan

The NYT reports on a “suspicious” set of drone strikes in Pakistan’s FATA, which according to unnamed officials, were not actually carried out by the CIA. Due to the murky circumstances that the program of target killings exists within, the attacks could have come from the Pakistani military, which has so far remained tight-lipped.

When news of the two latest drone strikes emerged from Pakistan’s tribal belt in early February, it seemed to be business as usual by the C.I.A.

Local and international media reports, citing unnamed Pakistani officials, carried typical details: swarms of American drones had swooped into remote areas, killing up to nine people, including two senior commanders of Al Qaeda.

Yet there was one problem, according to three American officials with knowledge of the program: The United States did not carry out those attacks.

“They were not ours,” said one of the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the drone program’s secrecy. “We haven’t had any kinetic activity since January.”

What exactly took place in those remote tribal villages, far from outside scrutiny, is unclear. But the Americans’ best guess is that one or possibly both of the strikes were carried out by the Pakistani military and falsely attributed to the C.I.A. to avoid criticism from the Pakistani public.

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