ISLAMABAD — When news of the two latest drone strikes emerged from Pakistan’s tribal belt in early February, it seemed to be business as usual by the CIA.
Media reports, citing unnamed Pakistani officials, carried typical details: Swarms of U.S. drones had swooped into remote areas, killing up to nine people, including two senior al-Qaeda commanders.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry lodged a protest with the U.S. Embassy.
Yet there was one problem, according to three U.S. officials with knowledge of the program: The United States did not carry out those attacks.
What took place in those remote tribal villages, far from outside scrutiny, is unclear. But the Americans’ best guess is that one, or possibly both, of the strikes were carried out by the Pakistani military and falsely attributed to the CIA to avoid criticism from the Pakistani public.
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