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Pakistan tests homemade armed drone, missile

Update : 2015-03-14 12:37:53
Pakistan tests homemade armed drone, missile

Pakistan successfully tested a homemade armed drone and a laser-guided missile Friday, the military said, taking it a step closer to acquiring the technology it has long demanded from the United States.

The United States has run a controversial drone programme against militant hideouts in northwestern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan since 2004.

Pakistan publicly opposes the missile strikes by US drones, terming them a violation of its territorial sovereignty and has long asked the US to give them the technology required to run their own programme.

The tests of the drone, called "Burraq", which translates as "flying horse", and the missile "Barq", or "lightning", were watched by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, military spokesman Major General Asim Bajwa said on Twitter Friday.

Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out the Islamist militant hideouts in the North Waziristan tribal area, which has long been a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and the homegrown Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.

Pakistan has been battling Islamist groups in its semi-autonomous tribal belt since 2003, but stepped up its fight last June when it launched a major military offensive.

The US has carried out a series of drone strikes in the tribal regions over the last ten months, raising speculation that the two nations' militaries are working together on Pakistani soil.

According to the independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the CIA has carried out 413 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, frequently prompting public protest from the government and civil groups.

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