Senior U.S. military officials say the United States has taken the
unprecedented step of sharing information obtained from surveillance
drones with Pakistan.
U.S. Admiral Mike Mullen told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that Pakistan
had requested the data from the U.S. unmanned aircraft to assist them
in their operations against militants along the Afghan border.
Mullen said the last request for information was received in April.
Suspected U.S. drones have carried out at least 30 missile strikes on
militant targets in northwestern Pakistan over the past year. The
attacks are sometimes blamed for causing civilian casualties.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari last week said his government has
asked for "ownership" of U.S. drones carrying out attacks. But U.S.
military officials say the United States remains opposed to joint
operations with Pakistani intelligence services due to concerns the
information will be leaked to militants.
The United States rarely discusses the missile strikes, which Pakistan
has criticized as counterproductive and a violation of its sovereignty.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates also spoke at Wednesday's Senate
hearing. He said the U.S. has given Pakistan roughly $7 billion to
support its military operations against militants in recent years.
Admiral Mullen also confirmed reports that Pakistan is increasing its nuclear weapons program but provided no details.