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

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    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.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora