ISI chief asked US to stop drone strikes

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Blackwater, Jul 31, 2011.

  1. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

    Jan 9, 2012
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    Akhand Bharat
    WASHINGTON: After years of pussyfooting, Pakistan has finally asked the United States to stop the CIA-run unmanned air strikes into its tribal areas, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

    Although the drone raids started in 2004, the official request for stopping the strikes was conveyed earlier this month when ISI chief Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha visited Washington.

    According to diplomatic sources, Mr Pasha told acting CIA Director Michael J. Morell that the raids had become a major source of embarrassment for the Pakistani government as it was blamed for failing to stop a foreign power from killing its own citizens.

    Before this, Pakistan had publicly protested the strikes but had never officially asked the United States to discontinue them, although Pakistani leaders often complained that drones were killing too many innocent civilians.

    The Pakistanis say that since June 18, 2004, when the CIA began the drone strikes, the unmanned aircraft had killed more than 2,500 people, mostly civilians. The US spy agency has conducted almost 250 strikes since 2004.

    The strikes have jumped from fewer than 50 in the Bush administration, to more than 200 strikes since President Barack Obama took office.

    The US government, however, rejects such claims as incorrect, insisting that drones are extraordinarily accurate. “There hasn’t been a single collateral death” since last year, President Obama’s chief counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan told a recent news briefing.

    The dispute took an interesting turn on Friday, when former US intelligence chief Dennis Blair said that the United States should stop its drone campaign in Pakistan. The CIA’s drone operation aimed at Al Qaeda was backfiring by damaging the US-Pakistan relationship, he said.

    But the top White House adviser on Pakistan and Afghanistan, Lt-Gen (retd) Douglas Lute, rejected this argument. Speaking at the same forum as Mr Blair in Aspen, Colorado, Mr Lute said now was the time to keep up US counter-terrorist actions in Pakistan, even if they upset the Pakistani government.

    Pakistan’s Ambassador Husain Haqqani told the same audience at the Aspen Security Forum that his government was pushing for a reduction because they’d begun to fray public support.

    ”Part of the agreement is neither side is going to talk too much about the drone strikes,” he said. “They’ve taken out many people who needed to be taken out …but if the cost is if support for the overall war starts to decline, you have to take that into account.”

    ISI chief asked US to stop drone strikes | Newspaper | DAWN.COM

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