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Reduced drone strikes reflect success, claims US official

Washington, Sun, 15 Apr 2012 ANI

Washington, Apr 15(ANI): A reduction in the US drone strikes in Pakistan in recent months reflects success in targeting senior al Qaeda operatives and forcing militants "underground," a US official has claimed.

The United States had earlier suspended the drone strikes in Pakistan's territory for nearly two months late last year, partly to reduce tensions over the November 26 NATO airstrike that had killed 24 Pakistan's soldiers.

US officials said drone strikes resumed in the border area of North Waziristan in January, but the rate of attacks has reduced this year.

Some US officials said sensitivities in Pakistan have been considered when their country decided whether to launch strikes, but others said lack of targets has been a key reason for the reduction of attacks.

"What's important is not the number or pace of strikes, but their effectiveness. This year already an (al Qaeda) external-ops planner and another key Pakistani military ally have been taken off the battlefield," The Daily Times quoted a US official, as saying.

"Another way to look at the number of strikes is to see this as the result of sustained and effective run of aggressive counter terrorism operations that have steadily degraded al Qaeda and its allies over the past several years," he added. (ANI)

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