Oct 24 2013, 8:28am CDT | by IANS
Washington, Oct 24 — Despite publicly denouncing US drone strikes, top Pakistani officials have for years secretly endorsed the campaign, the Washington Post reported citing top-secret CIA-Pakistani documents and Pakistani diplomatic memos.
Top Pakistanis even routinely received classified briefings on strikes and casualty counts, it said, and in one case a memo indicated "CIA was prepared to share credit with the Pakistanis if the agency could confirm that it had killed Ilyas Kashmiri, an Al Qaeda operative suspected of ties to plots against India".
The agency would do so "so that the negative views about Pakistan in the US decision and opinion making circles are mitigated", according to a diplomatic memo attributed to former deputy director of the CIA Michael J. Morell.
Morell, who retired this year, delivered regular briefings on the drone programme to Husain Haqqani, who was the Pakistani ambassador to the US at the time, the influential US daily said.
The secret files describe dozens of drone attacks in Pakistan's tribal region and include maps as well as before-and-after aerial photos of targeted compounds over a four-year stretch from late 2007 to late 2011 in which the campaign intensified dramatically, it said.
They tout the success of strikes that killed dozens of alleged Al Qaeda operatives and assert repeatedly that no civilians were harmed, the newspaper said.
The CIA also shared maps and photographs of drone operations in Pakistan that have not previously been shown publicly. These and other materials were routinely relayed "by bag" to senior officials in Islamabad, the documents indicate.
The Post said a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment. A CIA spokesman declined to discuss the documents but did not dispute their authenticity, it said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif raised the issue in a meeting Wednesday with US President Barack Obama, "emphasising the need for an end to such strikes" but failed to get a response from the president.
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