Pakistan, Bush Made Secret Drone-Strike Deal

Meanwhile, top-secret CIA documents show Islamabad was kept in the loop
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2013 11:44 PM CDT
Updated Oct 24, 2013 5:00 AM CDT
Pakistan Agreed to Many Drone Strikes: Reports
President Barack Obama shakes hands with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the conclusion of their meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Though Pakistan has often condemned US drone strikes—this week, PM Nawaz Sharif called them an obstacle in the countries' relationship—officials there reportedly signed a secret deal with the Bush administration regarding the attacks. "The exact terms were never shared with civilians, but there was a protocol between the Musharraf government and the Americans," a former official tells the National Journal. The civilian government that took over in 2008 "was informed about it, but there was no renegotiation."

Pakistani officials approved of many drone strikes via that agreement, though it's not certain if all were approved, the Journal notes. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports on top-secret CIA materials that show Pakistan quietly supported strikes, "routinely" receiving briefings on them. The documents also show the CIA regularly asserting that no civilians were killed in the attacks, contrary to reports by watchdog groups. Still, it remains clear that the strikes have been a point of tension between the countries, the Post notes. Yesterday, Sharif met with President Obama during his first trip to Washington as prime minister; speaking at the White House afterward, he said he had "emphasiz(ed) the need for an end" to the strikes. The visit itself is thought to show progress in the relationship, the AP notes. (More Pakistan stories.)

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