ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Air Force (PAF) is fully capable of stopping missile strikes by pilotless US drones but it is up to the government to decide whether to do that, the air force chief said yesterday.
Air Force chief Air Marshal Tanvir Mahmood Ahmed said it was up to the government to decide whether to stop such strikes through diplomatic and political means or by force. “The Air Force is ready for any type of air defense,” Tanvir told reporters, referring to various types of unmanned aircraft.
“First this nation, you people, our Parliament, our government, has to debate how we have to engage the foreign UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles). Whether we have to engage them diplomatically and politically to resolve it or engage them militarily,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials said that gunmen have kidnapped a Pakistani working on a US-funded aid project in the country’s volatile northwest. Police yesterday said the attackers seized the man from a convoy of relief vehicles in the Dir region on Monday. Other aid workers escaped after villagers fired on the attackers.
The UN’s World Food Program said the victim was distributing wheat and cooking oil on its behalf. WFP spokesman Amjad Jamal said the food was paid for by the US government.
Jamal said yesterday it’s unclear if Taleban militants were behind the kidnapping and that the WFP had received no demands. A spate of attacks and kidnappings have cast doubt on Western plans to flood the region with development aid to undermine support for Taleban militants.
In another development, at least six Taleban militants were killed overnight as the Pakistani Army moved close to rebel hide-outs in a restive tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an official said yesterday.
The six were killed in Bajaur, where Pakistani troops have been engaged in fierce clashes with militants linked to Taleban and Al-Qaeda since an operation was launched in the region in August. “Pakistani artillery pounded militant hideouts and underground bunkers, killing six rebels and wounding four others,” local administration official Mohammad Jamil told AFP. Jamil added that intense firing continued until yesterday morning.
Courtesy : Arab News