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WASHINGTON — The CIA has trained and bankrolled a well-paid force of elite Afghan paramilitaries for nearly eight years to hunt al-Qaida and the Taliban for the CIA, according to current and former U.S. officials.
Modeled after U.S. special forces, the Counterterrorist Pursuit Team was set up in the months following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2002 to penetrate territory controlled by the Taliban and al-Qaida and target militants for interrogations by CIA officials.
In 2009, 44 predator strikes carried out by the CIA in the tribal areas of Pakistan struck only five of their intended al Qa'eda and Taliban targets, but more than 700 innocent civilians also died, according to Pakistani authorities.