RICHARD A. OPPEL Jr.
The New York Times
January 23, 2009
ISLAMABAD — Two missile attacks launched from unmanned American aircraft killed at least 15 people in western Pakistan on Friday, suggesting that the strategy of using drones to kill militants inside Pakistan’s own borders would continue under President Obama.
Remotely piloted Predator drones operated by the Central Intelligence Agency have carried out more than 30 missile attacks since last summer against Al Qaeda members and other suspected terrorists deep in their redoubts on the Pakistani side of the border with Afghanistan.
But the attacks have also killed civilians, enraging Pakistanis and making it more difficult for the country’s shaky government to win support for its own military operations against Taliban guerrillas in the country’s lawless border region.
American officials in Washington, who said there were no immediate signs that the Friday strikes had killed any senior Al Qaeda leaders, said they dispelled for the moment any notion that Mr. Obama would rein in the Predator attacks.
Even as the C.I.A. continues its strikes just inside Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Mr. Obama and his top national security aides are likely to review in the coming days other counterterrorism measures put in place by the Bush administration, American officials said.