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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs