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Pakistan to Press US Envoy on Missile Strikes


Pakistan says it will discuss U.S. missile attacks during a visit next week by U.S. special envoy Richard Holbrooke.

Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters Thursday that Islamabad is ready to engage with the United States. But, he said it will not accept missile attacks inside Pakistani territory.

Unmanned U.S. aircraft (drones) have carried out at least 30 missile strikes over the past year, targeting al-Qaida and Taliban militants in northwestern Pakistan, along the Afghan border.

The U.S. has never confirmed the strikes, which Pakistan says are counterproductive, and a violation of its sovereignty.

Holbrooke's visit to Islamabad will be his first since last week's announcement by the Obama administration that Pakistan is a key part of its new strategy to fight the insurgency in Afghanistan.

Holbrooke traveled to both countries and India in February.

He is scheduled to return to India again next week after visiting Pakistan.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said under Washington's new regional strategy, U.S. forces will pursue high-value terrorist targets in Pakistan "after consulting" with the Pakistani government.

He said Washington will give Pakistan the tools to "root out" militant safe havens near the Afghan border. But, he said Islamabad must be held "more accountable" for achieving results.

Mr. Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Pakistan.

Instead, he is sending 17,000 extra troops to Afghanistan and another 4,000 forces and trainers to advise the Afghan military and government.


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