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

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

Despite Western concerns that IS militants are preparing a Jordanian offensive, analysts call the kingdom's solid intel a strong deterrent More

Asian-Americans Assume Office in Record Numbers

Steadily deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Comanche Chief Quanah Parker’s Century-Old House Falling Apart

One of the most fascinating people in U.S. history was Quanah Parker, the last chief of the American Indian tribe, the Comanche. He was the son of a Comanche warrior and a white woman who had been captured by the Indians. Parker was a fierce warrior until 1875 when he led his people to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and took on a new, peaceful life. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Cache, Oklahoma, Quanah’s image remains strong among his people, but part of his heritage is in danger of disappearing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid