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US Lawmakers Reject Pakistani Calls to End Drone Strikes

A Pakistani villager holds the wreckage of a suspected surveillance drone that crashed in Pakistani border town of Chaman along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan, August 2011. (file photo)
A Pakistani villager holds the wreckage of a suspected surveillance drone that crashed in Pakistani border town of Chaman along the Afghanistan border in Pakistan, August 2011. (file photo)
Michael Bowman

American lawmakers are rejecting renewed calls by Pakistan for an end to U.S.-sponsored drone strikes in the country.

Tuesday, a Pakistani government commission demanded an end to U.S. military strikes conducted by unmanned, remote-controlled aircraft known as drones. Asked by VOA if the United States should heed Pakistan’s wishes, Independent Senator Joe Lieberman was blunt.

"No. The drone strikes are critically important to America's national security. So obviously I do not believe they should stop,” he said.

Drone attacks are credited with eliminating scores of terrorists and radical militants in Pakistani territory near the border with Afghanistan. The program began under former-President George W. Bush and has been expanded dramatically under President Barack Obama.

In a report read to Pakistan’s parliament, a government commission described drone attacks as counterproductive, alleging the strikes radicalize local populations, create support for terrorists, and fuel anti-American sentiment.

The drones are needed, however, absent a more aggressive effort by Pakistan to root out terrorists and radical militants, according to Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

“I think the key is whether Pakistan will go into North Waziristan and other places and take out those terrorist leaders who are essentially fueling and leading attacks against our troops in Afghanistan," she said. "I think that is the outstanding issue, which determines if Pakistan will take the action and shut down the bomb factories and go after the [terrorist] leadership - then the drone is not necessary.”

Pakistan has long complained that drone attacks are a violation of national sovereignty. Although Pakistan has never given the United States formal permission to carry out aerial strikes, the attacks are believed to be carried out with some degree of cooperation by Pakistani intelligence.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said he is mindful of Pakistan’s objections.

“I do believe sovereignty is, obviously, a big issue for any country. But I would like to see Pakistan embrace the idea that extremism has no welcome home in Pakistan. The day that the Pakistani people, though their government, will tell extremists 'You are not welcome here' is [would be] a breakthrough for the people of Pakistan," said Graham.

Graham said that drone strikes have been effective and that, in his words, “it is not in Pakistan's long-term interest to be seen by the world-at-large as a safe haven for terrorists.”

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by: Sunnny
March 25, 2012 5:44 AM
agree with Bryan

by: Godwin
March 22, 2012 7:38 AM
Pakistan hid bin Laden for years and provided everything he needed: surveillance materials to use in planning further attacks. Every cooperation with Pakistan was the power of bin Laden to be elusive. The OFFICIAL asking for withdrawal of drones is the man we're looking for. His loyalty is to al qaida; leak-point, the bin Laden link man, and the US should beware that he does not take part in any classified business in relation to allied forces operation in the region

by: Cha Cha Cohen
March 21, 2012 12:42 PM
It may be the Super America lead the 'Drone Technology' it is not very difficult 'cowardice technology' and any state can have it in a few years time, if they wish! Then 'God save us from the peril'! This is exactly the way the dinosaur went extinct!

by: bryan
March 21, 2012 10:36 AM
Pak can shot them,drone MAY kill 1 surely kill children civilians, recent killing in France how angry we went,many Pak children we have killed going to school.If US is funding.as per record Pak not paid promised,they spend their own $68 bln for war US wanted.George cmnt funny as US made talibans & fund them, now meeting taliban leaders in Qatar is 2 face &making their HQ means YES,released top taliban Guntanamo bay with luxury lives in Qatar.how Mr George would define all that?

by: George
March 21, 2012 8:31 AM
Pakistan is a pinnacle of corruption, more they cry, more money they get from US and EU. Just look at prosperous and peaceful India and you will see remarkable difference between the two, and that was once a single country.
There is no doubt the terrorists of Afghanistan have a great support in Pakistan and Pakistanis do nothing about it. Just like the Bin Laden hideout!

by: Rehan
March 21, 2012 5:42 AM
@ Michael Robbins

You remembers the death of two thousand US soldiers in Afghanistan, but due to the US mess in Afghanistan there are thousands of Pakistani soldiers and civilians died in Pakistan and economy severely suffered too..Why you want Pakistani to open their borders for supply when at the same time US drones attacked Pakistani civilians and CIA spy's like Raymond Davis killed Pakistani citizens on road in day light....

by: Chenedu
March 21, 2012 4:13 AM
It will be intresting to see Pakistan adopting counter-measures against the drones or fire at where the drones take off

by: Michael Robbins
March 20, 2012 9:34 PM
The death of 24 Pakistani soldiers due to an errant drone strike in November 2011 is minuscule in comparison to loss of more than two thousand US soldiers over a period of five years while they were fruitlessly looking for bin Laden in the rubles of Afghanistan when in fact Pakistan was sheltering bin Laden in Abbottabad. It is Pakistan that needs to apologize to the US for their acts of perfidy.

Pakistan needs to stop blackmailing the US by holding up supply trucks en route to Afghanistan.

by: Archie1954
March 20, 2012 6:45 PM
The US refuses to cease bombing Pakistan so that country should simply shoot down the drones. Simple isn't it?

by: Jacques
March 20, 2012 4:57 PM
I truly believe that when I moved to Canada from the US way back in 1959 the Canadian gvt and it's allies municipal, provincial and whoever else had the street name i lived on named for a purpose and the cross street was radcliff maybe like in Radcliff line. I don't think there is anything Pakistan can do to avoid the drone thing because I also believe that some of the political groups behind the strategy have done and would do worse to furthur their political objectives.
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