Pak Affairs Politics

No understanding for US drone attacks: Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office of Pakistan said Thursday there was no justification nor understanding for US drone strikes that have ramped up to record levels in the past month.”We believe that they are counter-productive and also a violation of our sovereignty,” foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters.

“We hope that the U.S. will revisit its policy,” he said, adding that the scaled up drone war was not serving the larger strategic interests, especially in the context of our efforts to win hearts and minds, which is part and parcel of our strategy against militants and terrorists.”

He also ruled out any understating of the Pakistan government for US drone strikes inside the restive tribal areas. Basit said a decision to reopen the Torkham crossing will be made “in due course.” Both the U.S. and NATO apologized for the Sept. 30 attack on Wednesday, saying the American helicopters mistook Pakistani soldiers for insurgents they were pursuing across the Afghan border.

Pakistan closed Torkham to NATO supply convoys on the same day as the attack, leaving hundreds of trucks stranded along the country’s highways. Militants have taken advantage of the impasse to attack the convoys.

While early in the day a suspected US drone attack killed four alleged militants in North Waziristan Agency. Reports said the spy plane fired two missiles on a vehicle, killing four alleged militants in Tehsil Mirali of the tribal region bordering Afghanistan. Identification of those killed was not known.

At least 21 US drone attacks have killed around 120 people in September, the highest monthly tally of attacks. But local tribesmen say the US missiles were killing civilians. A covert US drone war in Pakistan has killed around 1,140 people in about 140 strikes since August 2008, including a number of senior militants, but the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the country.-SANA

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Mubashar Nizam

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