News / Asia

Pakistan Cancels US-Afghan Talks After Drone Strike

Pakistani tribesmen hold banners during a protest demanding an end to the U.S. drone strikes (file photo)
Pakistani tribesmen hold banners during a protest demanding an end to the U.S. drone strikes (file photo)

Multimedia

Audio
Ayaz Gul

Pakistan has pulled out of trilateral talks with the United States on Afghanistan to protest a deadly U.S. drone attack in a remote border region. The incident comes at a time when relations between Islamabad and Washington are already strained.

The United States has stepped up missile strikes by unmanned planes on militant hideouts in Pakistan's tribal region in recent months. But this latest drone attack in North Waziristan is one of the deadliest and reportedly killed civilians.

Pakistani officials and tribal sources say that Thursday's attack in the Datta Khel area targeted tribesmen who had gathered for a traditional jirga meeting to settle an internal dispute.

The country's political and military leaders have condemned the strike. Pakistan's army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, on Thursday said the jirga was targeted "callously with complete disregard to human life".

A day later, the Pakistan's foreign office summoned U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter to formally protest the deadly attack.

"Ambassador Munter has categorically conveyed that such strikes were not only unacceptable, but also constituted a flagrant violation of humanitarian norms and law," said Janjua. "It was also stated that if for the White House and the State Department to hold back those who have been trying to veer Pakistan-US relationship away from the track," said Foreign office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua.

She was apparently referring to the CIA that many believe runs the drone operation. U.S officials do not publicly comment on the drone attacks, but privately describe them as an effective tool against al-Qaida-led terrorists. It is widely believed that Pakistani authorities are providing intelligence information for the strikes.

Spokeswoman Janjua says that following the drone attack Pakistan has decided not to attend a proposed trilateral meeting of Afghan, U.S. and Pakistani officials next week in Brussels. The talks were to focus on security and peace efforts in Afghanistan.

This is the second time the trilateral dialogue has been suspended.

Washington postponed the talks after CIA contractor Raymond Davis was detained in late January for shooting and killed two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore.

Davis was indicted on double murder charges but a settlement agreement with relatives of the victims led to his release on Wednesday.

The United States maintained throughout the seven-week standoff with Pakistan that Davis has diplomatic immunity. But Pakistani authorities disagreed and left it for the country's court to determine his fate.

Davis' release on Wednesday sparked protests by religious and right-wing parties, who say Pakistan's civilian and military leaders bowed to U.S pressure. Protests have been held across Pakistan this week, with demonstrators again taking to the streets following Friday prayers.

Analysts suggest the army leadership's rare condemnation of Thursday's drone attack could have been meant to deflect criticism of the Pakistani intelligence agency's perceived role in securing the release of the CIA contractor. Hassan Askari Rizvi is a former professor at Punjab University.

"Perhaps, the reason being the army wants to demonstrate to the people that it is not really conceding everything to the American policies in the region," said Rizvi. "So maybe it is because of the domestic pressure that was mounting on the army that the army decided to take up this position."

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani responded to critics Friday, saying the government simply implemented the court order to free Davis. Therefore, in his words, it is inappropriate to hold any single institution responsible for the final outcome of the case.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid