News

    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.”

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site -
    Middle East Voices
    . Follow our Middle East reports on
    Twitter and discuss them on our Facebook page.
    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    
    by: Richard Cheeseman
    March 20, 2012 3:43 PM
    A clearer example of imperialism could not be found. These assassinations are illegal under Pakistani and international law. Pakistan is a sovereign state which has demanded that the US stop the unlawful killings on its territory, yet US officials arrogantly brush this off as if Pakistan were a mere colony of the US empire.

    The imperialist hypocrisy is blatant: how would the lawless US regime respond to extra-judicial executions carried out by other countries on US territory?

    by: Imran Anwar
    March 20, 2012 3:40 PM
    I wonder how these US lawmakers would feel about Russia carrying our assassinations of anti-Russia attack planners who may live in America.

    Overall, Pakistan and USA are both posturing like fools while Taliban are getting stronger again.

    Imran Anwar
    Comments page of 2
     Previous    

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora