The Sunday Times claims US president has ‘dramatically’ stepped up covert war against extremists inside Pakistan
LAHORE: The death of three American soldiers in a suicide bombing at the opening of a girls’ school in Lower Dir last week has re-ignited the fears of many Pakistanis that Washington is set on invading their country.
While Barack Obama has banned the Bush-era term “war on terror” and dithered about sending extra troops to Afghanistan, a British newspaper claims that the US president has “dramatically stepped up” the covert war against extremists in Pakistan. US drone strikes are now averaging three a week, triple the number last year. Over the last month, drones have pounded North Waziristan in apparent retaliation for the death of seven CIA officers in Afghanistan in a suicide bombing carried out by a Jordanian bomber working with the TTP. Last week, the US launched its first multiple drone attack, according to Pakistani security officials. Eighteen missiles were fired from eight unmanned aircraft in Dattakhel village, killing 16 people. “The discovery of the dead US soldiers revealed that America’s shadowy war in Pakistan not only involves drones but also small cadres of special operations soldiers,” says the British newspaper.
Sources said there were about 200 US soldiers inside Pakistan. “I’m not sure you could just call it training,” said an official. “They are hardly behind the wire if they are on trips to schools in Dir.” The three US soldiers – who, according to the Sunday Times, have been described variously as special operations forces and civil affairs troops – were killed when their convoy was bombed as it travelled to the re-opening of the school. It had been rebuilt with US aid after being bombed by the Taliban last year. daily times monitor