Pakistan urges rethinking of US drone attacks
Pakistan wants the United States to rethink its use of drones to attack militant targets and has asked Washington to transfer the pilotless aircraft to Islamabad, Foreign Minister Mehmood Qureshi said. Pak's civilian Govt believes the US missile strikes have fanned an Islamist insurgency across northwest Pakistan, he said.world Updated: Feb 26, 2009 07:45 IST
Pakistan wants the United States to rethink its use of drones to attack militant targets and has asked Washington to transfer the pilotless aircraft to Islamabad, the country's foreign minister said on Wednesday.
Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, visiting Washington to take part in the Obama administration's review of policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan, said he told US officials that "they have to review the strategy vis-a-vis drones."
Pakistan's civilian government, elected a year ago, believes the US missile strikes are counterproductive and have fanned an Islamist insurgency across northwest Pakistan, he said.
"They have carried out some successful strikes and taken out some high-value targets," Qureshi told the PBS network's "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."
"At the same time, there is a collateral damage that is linked to the drones and that has alienated people there," he added.
Qureshi told PBS he had asked the United States to share drone technology.
"If they are a necessity, then ... we are suggesting that the technology be transferred to Pakistan and that will resolve quite a few issues with the people of Pakistan," he said, adding he had not received a reply to the request.
Qureshi and Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta are among delegations visiting Washington this week to take part in the review of US policy on the region.
The meetings in Washington follow President Barack Obama's decision last week to send an additional 17,000 troops to Afghanistan to battle Taliban insurgents, bringing US forces there to 55,000 by this summer.
First Published: Feb 26, 2009 07:39 IST