Although the U.S. military flies surveillance drones in Pakistan and shares intelligence with the Pakistani government, Pakistan has prohibited U.S. military operations on its soil, arguing they would impinge on the country’s sovereignty. The CIA operations, while well-known, are technically covert, allowing Islamabad to deny to its unsupportive public its involvement with the strikes. The CIA doesn’t acknowledge the program, and the shift of Pentagon resources has been kept under wraps…

The secret deal to beef up the CIA’s campaign inside Pakistan shows the extent to which military officials see the havens there, used by militants to plan and launch attacks on U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, as the primary obstacle to the Afghan war effort.

“When it comes to drones, there’s no mission more important right now than hitting targets in the tribal areas, and that’s where additional equipment’s gone,” a U.S. official said. “It’s not the only answer, but it’s critical to both homeland security and force protection in Afghanistan.”

The idea of funneling military resources through the CIA was broached during last year’s Afghanistan-Pakistan policy review, officials say.