Saturday, May 5, 2012
U.S. will carry on with drone strikes in spite of Pakistani objections: Leon Panetta
Just to make sure that Pakistan understands that the U.S. will not agree to Pakistani demands that drone strikes cease Leon Panetta U.S. Defense Secretary has again stated that the U.S. will continue the strikes. This makes the Pakistani government's position politically difficult if not impossible. There have been no less than three parliamentary motions demanding the strikes cease. The latest demand makes cessation of drone strikes a condition for re-opening NATO supply routes through Pakistan,
Meanwhile the Pakistani government reports that the U.S. and the Pakistanis are negotiating solutions to outstanding issues. Yet the U.S. through Panetta is announcing that the drone strikes are not negotiable but will continue. As usual the Pakistani government has fudged on the matter. In a recent article Pakistan while at the same rhetorically denouncing the attacks as violations of sovereignty and counter-productive claims that there are negotiations with the U.S. on alternatives to the drone strikes.
Foreign Office spokesperson Moazzam Khan claims that the two sides are discussing alternatives to drone attacks. Really? Then why is Panetta saying that they will continue? Khan said: "We have raised drone attacks issue with the US at various levels. We are trying to resolve this issue on a priority basis. There is a need to resolve all issues with the US."
Panetta says that the drone attacks defend the U.S. against terrorists. Most of the terrorists being killed however have little interest in attacking the U.S. but of course every intention of driving the U.S. out of Afghanistan. Added to this is the fact that many who are killed may not be terrorists at all. For more see this article.