Pakistan racing to develop armed drones

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Associated Press

Posted on November 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 17 at 7:32 PM

KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan is secretly racing to develop its own armed drones, frustrated with U.S. refusals to provide the aircraft.

But it's struggling with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology.

China has offered to help by selling Pakistan armed drones it developed. But industry experts say there is still uncertainty about the capabilities of the Chinese aircraft.

Pakistan has asked the U.S. to provide it with armed drones, but Washington has refused because of the sensitive nature of the technology and doubts that Pakistan would reliably target U.S. enemies.

The development of unmanned combat aircraft is especially sensitive in Pakistan because of the widespread unpopularity of the hundreds of U.S. drone strikes against Taliban and al-Qaida militants in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government denounces the CIA strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty. Pakistani officials also say the strikes kill many civilians and fuel anger that helps militants recruit additional fighters.

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APPHOTO ISL502: In this Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 photo, visitors look at Pakistan-made unmanned aircraft at defense exhibition in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan is secretly racing to develop its own armed drones, frustrated with U.S. refusals to provide the aircraft, but is struggling in its initial tests with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology. The development of unmanned combat aircraft is especially sensitive in Pakistan because of the widespread unpopularity of U.S. drone strikes against militants in the rugged tribal region bordering Afghanistan.(AP Photo/Shakil Adil) (15 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO ISL502 (11/15/12)>>

APPHOTO ISL501: In this Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012 photo, visitors look at Pakistan-made unmanned aircraft at defense exhibition in Karachi, Pakistan. Pakistan is secretly racing to develop its own armed drones, frustrated with U.S. refusals to provide the aircraft, but is struggling in its initial tests with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology. The development of unmanned combat aircraft is especially sensitive in Pakistan because of the widespread unpopularity of U.S. drone strikes against militants in the rugged tribal region bordering Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Shakil Adil) (15 Nov 2012)

<<APPHOTO ISL501 (11/15/12)>>

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