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US may equip Pakistan with drone aircraft, Gates says

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Pakistan Press Information Department/AP

(Read caption) Pakistan's Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar, right, meets US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on Thursday.

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US Defense Secretary Robert Gates landed Thursday in Islamabad with the goal of pressing Pakistan to stamp out Al Qaeda and other terrorist factions that he earlier warned could destabilize South Asia.

In his first visit to the country since the inauguration of the Obama White House, Mr. Gates said the US is considering supplying Pakistan with unarmed drone aircraft. While Pakistan has publicly called America's use of drones a violation of sovereignty, Islamabad has requested the technology for itself, Reuters reported.

"We are in partnership with the Pakistani military and we are working to give them their own intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance vehicles, both aircraft and drones," Gates said.

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