US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta vowed in Pentagon to eliminate the threat from “al-Qaeda” in northern Mali, Reuters reported on Saturday. He said that he would ensure that al-Qaeda has "no place to hide.”
"Our approach is to make sure that al-Qaeda and elements of al-Qaeda have no place to hide. And we've gone after al-Qaeda wherever they are - whether it's in [the northwestern Pakistan] FATA [Federally Administered Tribal Areas]; whether it's in Yemen; whether it's in Somalia; and whether they're in North Africa," he noted.
The comments came amid reports that the CIA is currently flying some surveillance drones over northern Mali, and that France is also reportedly sending surveillance aircraft to the African country.
A study, conducted by Stanford and New York Universities, has showed that only one in 50 people killed by US assassination drones in Pakistan -- one of the several countries where the US has carried out drone strikes -- are militants.