News / Asia

US Defense Secretary Talks Security With Pakistani Leaders

Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif (R) meets with US defense secretary Chuck Hagel at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Dec. 9, 2013.
Pakistan's army chief General Raheel Sharif (R) meets with US defense secretary Chuck Hagel at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Dec. 9, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel visited Pakistan on Monday where he held talks with civilian and military leaders over bilateral security cooperation and efforts to establish peace in neighboring Afghanistan. The controversy over U.S. drone strikes against militants in Pakistani tribal areas also was discussed.  
 
Hagel's trip was the first visit to Pakistan by a Pentagon chief in nearly four years. It came at a time when U.S.-led international forces are reducing their presence in neighboring Afghanistan.    
 
Hagel met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the country’s new military chief, General Raheel Sharif.

According to the Pentagon, the talks provided what it said was "an opportunity to advance a broad, robust, and continuous United States-Pakistan dialogue on topics of shared concern, including security and stability in the region."
 
The Pakistan prime minister’s office said in a statement that Sharif conveyed Pakistan’s “deep concern” over continuing U.S. drone strikes and stressed that they are counterproductive to his government’s anti-terrorism efforts.
 
The U.S. drone program has triggered anti-American protests in Pakistan. The Pentagon says the strikes are aimed at terrorists who are attempting to undermine U.S. troops in nearby Afghanistan.

Former Pakistani ambassador to Washington Ashraf Jehangir Qazi said diplomatic and street protests are unlikely to cause the United States to end drone strikes.
 
“If you want to preserve your territory from such attacks, then you simply have to extend your writ throughout your country and particularly over areas from where attacks are being launched into Afghanistan inflicting casualties on American and Afghan forces. That has to be done. Only then will you see the drones come down. Whether that is the best way or not but that is the most effective way of seeing it happening,” said Qazi.
 
The U.S. armed drones are mainly targeting suspected militants in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous North Waziristan tribal region where fugitive insurgents linked to the Haqqani network have established sanctuaries.
 
The opposition party of former cricket star Imran Khan is leading anti-drone protests. Activists have blocked the supply route in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and have vowed to do so until the U.S. drones are stopped.

The U.S. last week halted the shipments due to what it called "security concerns." Sharif's government, however, is opposed to forcefully interrupting NATO cargo through Pakistan. It has cautioned protesters the move could lead to the country’s international isolation.
 
Hagel on Monday told Pakistani leaders that if they do not resolve protests halting the shipments, it could be difficult to maintain political support in Washington for an ongoing aid program for the country.

Defense officials say Sharif told them that Pakistan would address the issue.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid