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 Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf 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.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs