Pakistan: Pervez Musharraf admits secret CIA drone deal with US

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April 13, 2013

In an interview with CNN, Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf admitted to a secret deal with the US which allowed the country to conduct drone strikes against terrorists.

April 13, 2013

In an interview with CNN, Pakistan’s former military ruler Pervez Musharraf admitted to a secret deal with the US which allowed the country to conduct drone strikes against terrorists.

Musharraf maintains he only allowed the strikes on occasions where the target was absolutely isolated and where there was no chance of collateral damage.

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military ruler, has for the first time admitted doing a secret deal with America to allow CIA drone strikes against terrorist targets.

His comments contradict repeated Pakistani denials that the US has ever been given permission for the strikes. They come amid growing evidence that the country’s intelligence service is collaborating with its American counterpart.

In an interview with CNN, Musharraf, who returned to Pakistan three weeks ago, said he had authorized strikes “only on very few occasions where the target was absolutely isolated and had no chance of collateral damage.”

The first strike on Pakistan soil came in 2004, five years into Musharraf’s reign, killing a tribal leader seen as an enemy of the government. Since then there have been more than 300 strikes and more than 3,000 deaths.

Islamabad has publicly condemned the attacks, describing them as an infringement of Pakistani sovereignty.

They provoke intense anger and have been blamed for stoking anti-American sentiment in the country. Yet there has long been suspicion that Pakistan had given consent.

Documents released by Wikileaks suggested that in 2008 the US ambassador to Islamabad had the consent of the then prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, who said: “I don't care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”

Musharraf’s comments, made as he attempts to win a seat in elections next month, appear to confirm that a deal was done.

He said the strikes were “discussed at the military intelligence level” and cleared only if “there was no time for our own special operations task force and military to act. That was … maybe two or three times only.”

The admission will harm Musharraf's chances of election, deeply embarrass Pakistan's military establishment and further anger militant groups, which accuse the government of selling out to Washington.

Earlier this week, McClatchy, an American news organization published evidence that the CIA were Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency were sharing information and working together on selecting targets.

The CIA program is officially classified as “covert”, which means officials are not allowed to discuss details, but the US is under increasing pressure to bring it out into the open, setting out the legal basis for launching strikes.


Courtesy:  Daily Telegraph