International

U.S. official summoned after drone rampage over Eid

Pakistan on Thursday summoned a senior official of the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to register its protest over the flurry of drone attacks in North Waziristan right through the Eid holidays.

Since last Saturday — when the festivities began after the month of fasting — unmanned drones operated by the CIA fired missiles on the tribal agency on four days; even attacking the same target twice.

“The U.S. Embassy was today démarched on recent drone strikes in North Waziristan. A senior U.S. diplomat was called to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and informed that the drone strikes were unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. It was emphatically stated that such attacks were unacceptable,” said the Foreign Office in a statement.

After the first attack on Saturday, the Foreign Office had issued a protest statement. Pakistan has long held that drone attacks are counter-productive and has demanded that they be stopped immediately.

The U.S., for its part, has shown no signs of relenting though its drone policy — particularly stepped up by the Obama administration — has drawn criticism at home also.

With this latest round of drone visits coming at a time when speculation is rife about the Pakistan Army launching an operation against terrorist hideouts in North Waziristan, the probability of the latter is reportedly gaining currency among the locals.

Dawn reported that locals were weighing their options with some already moving to neighbouring Bannu and others shifting to Afghanistan. People in the tribal areas can easily move to Afghanistan by way of a policy of easement rights.

Also, there were reports quoting the spokesman of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as stating that military offensive would start on August 26. He was also quoted as saying that the TTP would counter the offensive. Though the U.S. has been pressuring Islamabad to launch a broadside against the Haqqani network — held responsible for many of the brazen attacks inside Kabul — the general assumption in Islamabad is that the military operation will essentially target the TTP, which has claimed responsibility for many attacks inside Pakistan including the recent breach of the Kamra airbase.


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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 2:34:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/us-official-summoned-after-drone-rampage-over-eid/article3812785.ece

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