WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama's administration has expanded the Central Intelligence Agency-run covert war inside Pakistan by attacking a militant network seeking to topple the Pakistani government, New York Times reported on Saturday. The newspaper said recent missile strikes on training camps run by Baitullah Mehsud represent a broadening of the US military campaign inside Pakistan, which has been carried out largely by drone aircraft. Under President George W Bush, the US frequently attacked militants from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban involved in cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but had stopped short of raids aimed at Mehsud and his followers, who have played less of a direct role in attacks on American troops. Mehsud was identified early last year by US and Pakistani officials as the man who had orchestrated the assassination of former prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the report said. Bush included Mehsud in a classified list of militant leaders whom the CIA and American commandos were authorised to capture or kill, according to the paper. However, he did not do anything to implement the authorisation. But last Saturday and Monday, US missiles hit camps run by Mehsud's network, The Times said. The Saturday strike was aimed specifically at Mehsud, but he was not killed, the paper reported, citing unnamed Pakistani and US officials. By striking at the Mehsud network, the US may be seeking to demonstrate to President Zardari that the new administration is willing to go after the insurgents of greatest concern to the Pakistani leader. But American officials may also be prompted by growing concern that the militant attacks are increasingly putting the civilian government of Pakistan, a nation with nuclear weapons, at risk, the daily said. The strikes came after a visit to Islamabad last week by Richard Holbrooke, the American envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.