WASHINGTON — The U.S. military has flown drones into Pakistan at least a dozen times in recent weeks in cooperation with the Pakistanis as part of a new program, U.S. officials acknowledged Wednesday.
The military conducted test flights in March to demonstrate intelligence gathering capabilities to the Pakistanis. Those were followed by Pakistani requests for additional Predator flights to collect intelligence on suspected militants, said an official from U.S. Central Command, which oversees forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The program's existence was first reported Wednesday by The Times. Officials have told The Times that it represented an effort to have U.S. and Pakistani military officers work together on drones and to persuade Pakistan to fire the drones' missiles at militant positions.
In response, the Central Command official and other military officers said Wednesday that a formal U.S. proposal for the joint effort did not include the use of armed strikes on suspected militant positions.