Afghanistan Crossroads

WikiLeaks: Pakistan quietly approved drone attacks, US special units

On the record, Pakistan has persistently criticized the United States' use of unmanned drones to attack militant hideouts in its mountainous border region.

But diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that in private the Pakistani government was not unhappy about the strikes, and secretly allowed small groups of U.S. special operation units to operate on its soil.

In a cable sent in August 2008, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan at the time, Anne W. Patterson, recounted a meeting with Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani. It coincided with a military operation in one of the restive frontier territories.

Patterson wrote: "Malik suggested we hold off alleged Predator attacks until after the Bajaur operation. The PM brushed aside Rehman's remarks and said, 'I don't care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.'"

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