Wednesday, March 14, 2012

#Pakistan Warns #America To STOP Drone Hits !

Pakistan on Tuesday told the United States it will no longer permits drones using its airspace to attack militants and collect intelligence on Qaeda and other groups, a media report said.

Pakistan Ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman met Vice President Joe Biden’s National Security Adviser Antony Blinken on March 9. She told him Pakistan’s political parties had agreed that the drone flights over Pakistan must end, the Bloomberg news service said, citing unnamed US officials.

“Pakistan’s sovereignty over its airspace and the civilian casualties that have resulted from drone strikes are emotional issues in Pakistan, where public opinion heavily favours terminating drone missions,” the report cited Pakistani officials as saying. “The US will try to reach a point with Pakistani leaders,” two US officials said. “The only chance for a compromise,” Pakistani officials said, “may be if the US agrees to share intelligence and coordinate strikes first, a strategy Pakistan has long advocated.” The US has resisted giving information to Pakistan in advance because of fears that some in Pakistan’s security forces might warn the targets of impending strikes, the report said.

The drone programme, which President Barack Obama acknowledged publicly for the first time in January, has been part of US counter-terrorism strategy in Pakistan since 2004, officials and counter-terrorism experts say. The administration authorized 53 drone attacks in 2009 and 117 in 2010, compared with 35 in 2008 under former president George W Bush, according to Bill Roggio, a US military analyst whose website, the Long War Journal, maintains a database of the campaign.

Eliminating drone missions would contribute to a resurgence of extremist groups operating in the tribal areas along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, Peter Singer, author of “Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century,” told the Bloomberg news.

“The drone programme is critical, because it provides better real-time surveillance and reconnaissance than satellite imagery does,” Seth Jones, a senior political scientist in Washington for the Santa Monica, California-based RAND Corporation research institute, told the news service....read more