Obama expanding military operations in Pakistan: Report
Published: Saturday February 21, 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama's administration has broadened the number of radical groups targeted by the CIA inside Pakistan by attacking a militant network seeking to overthrow the Pakistani government, The New York Times reported Saturday.
The newspaper said recent missile strikes on training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud represent a broadening of the US military campaign inside Pakistan, which has been carried out largely by drone aircraft.
Under fromer president George W. Bush, the United States frequently attacked militants from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban but stopped short of targeting Mehsud and his followers.
Mehsud was identified early last year by US and Pakistani officials as the man who had orchestrated the assassination of Pakistani former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, the report said.
Bush included Mehsud in a classified list of militant leaders whom the CIA and American commandos were authorized to capture or kill, according to the paper.
However, he did not do anything to implement the authorization.
But last Saturday and Monday, US missiles hit camps run by Mehsud's network, The Times said.
The Saturday strike was aimed specifically at Mehsud, but he was not killed, the paper reported, citing unnamed Pakistani and US officials.