Pakistan Wants U.S. To Suspend Drone Attacks During Offensive

Posted Jun 25, 2009 by Christopher Szabo
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry has called on the U.S. to stop drone attacks in the western Waziristan region, as government military operations to eliminate militants had begun. The latest such strike killed around 80 mourners at a funeral.
MQ-9 Reaper UAV
U.S. drone in action
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson
The spokesman, Abdul Basit, told the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP):
Pakistan’s position on this issue is very clear, as these drone attacks are counterproductive and have more disadvantages than the advantages. We would continue to convey the concern of the people of Pakistan to the US.
Arguing that the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) strikes are not needed, Basit added:
Our security operations in Swat and other areas are proceeding very well and successfully.
Pakistan’s Press TV reported that at least 80 mourners were killed in the attack, adding that such attacks undermined the country’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, other media reports said the attack had been aimed at killing Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, but he had left the targeted village some hours earlier. Analysts say the killing of such a high number of non-combatants, and mourners to boot, will hurt Pakistan’s offensive in the area and swing public opinion in the direction of the Taliban and their supporters.
The strike also failed to kill Qari Hussein and Sangeen Zadran. The latter is an Afghan Taliban leader who is apparently important in Mehsud’s organisation.