Tuesday, December 22, 2009

US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids in hunt for al-Qaida

Former Nato officer reveals secret night operations in border region which America kept quiet

Declan Walsh in Islamabad, The Guardian/UK, Dec 21, 2009

Demonstrators in Quetta set US flag on fire

Demonstrators in Quetta protest against US threats to extend drone strikes into the Balochistan region, which US military chiefs fear is becoming a Taliban ‘hub’. Photograph: Banaras Khan/AFP/Getty Images

American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme.

A former Nato officer said the incursions, only one of which has been previously reported, occurred between 2003 and 2008, involved helicopter-borne elite soldiers stealing across the border at night, and were never declared to the Pakistani government.

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