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

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    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.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora