News / Asia

Pakistan Protests Drone Strike on Taliban Leader

FILE - Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen with his comrade Waliur Rehman during his meeting with media in Sararogha of Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border, Oct. 4, 2009.FILE - Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen with his comrade Waliur Rehman during his meeting with media in Sararogha of Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border, Oct. 4, 2009.
x
FILE - Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen with his comrade Waliur Rehman during his meeting with media in Sararogha of Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border, Oct. 4, 2009.
FILE - Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, left, is seen with his comrade Waliur Rehman during his meeting with media in Sararogha of Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan along the Afghanistan border, Oct. 4, 2009.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan has denounced the killing of Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike as an attempt to scuttle its plans to engage Islamist insurgents in peace talks.

The government summoned the American ambassador on Saturday to discuss the matter.

Even though the remotely-controlled unmanned American drone has eliminated Pakistan’s most wanted Islamist militant, it has apparently plunged the already troubled relations into a new crisis.

The attack took place this past week in the North Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border and killed, among others, the commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud.

Speaking to reporters Saturday in Islamabad, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan said the U.S. drone strike came just a day before the government was to send a delegation of Islamic clerics to the militant-dominated region to formally invite Mehsud’s group for peace talks.  He condemned the U.S. attack as a deliberate bid to “murder” the peace dialogue.

Khan said, “The efforts have been ambushed ... we hope the peace process will go on and this effort, which has been made to de-track the peace process, I hope will fail.”

US ambassador summoned

Minister Khan said the government summoned the U.S. ambassador to register a strong protest and Pakistan's government has taken several other retaliatory decisions.  But he would not clearly state whether suspension of convoys ferrying supplies through Pakistan to U.S.-led international forces in Afghanistan will come under consideration.

“The entire perspective of Pak-U.S. relations and cooperation is going to be reviewed,” said Khan.

The United States had a $5 million bounty on Mehsud for his role in a deadly suicide attack on a CIA compound in a border province of Afghanistan in 2009.  His group also had claimed responsibility for a failed bombing in New York's Times Square in 2010.  

The 34-year-old leader had taken over the banned militant group, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, in 2009 when its previous head was killed, also by a US drone strike the same year.

Khan said he repeatedly warned the American ambassador in recent weeks that drone strikes should not target Taliban leaders while the newly-elected government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is attempting to engage in peace talks with Taliban extremists.  

He added that Pakistan is helping the United States in its bid to hold peace talks with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan to promote regional and international stability.  Khan noted that in the meeting with Prime Minister Sharif in Washington late last month, President Barack Obama voiced support for Pakistan’s peace initiatives to end militancy in the country.

Khan said, “Is this how you support the dialogue process that one day before regular discussions or consultations are due to start you go and take out the leader of the other (Taliban) outfit with whom we were to engage in these talks?”

Rift in relations

U.S. drone operations against fugitive al-Qaida and Taliban operatives in Pakistani border areas, and allegations the Pakistani military backs deadly cross-border insurgent raids on U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan have been major causes of mutual suspicions and distrust.  

In a related development, popular Pakistani political leader Imran Khan, whose party rules the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province bordering Afghanistan, has threatened to block truck convoys ferrying supplies to U.S. and NATO forces in the event of further drone strikes.  He was addressing a separate news conference in the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Imran Khan said his party will push the provincial legislature to unanimously adopt a resolution to block the supplies unless Pakistan is assured there will be no drone attacks in future.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province serves as a major supply route for sending supplies to international troops in Afghanistan.  A NATO cross-border airstrike that mistakenly killed two dozen Pakistani soldiers in 2011 had also plunged bilateral ties to historic lows and provoked Islamabad to suspend the supply lines for several months.

The latest standoff comes as the United States plans to withdraw most of its forces from Afghanistan by end of next year and it heavily relies on Pakistani land routes for an orderly drawdown.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid