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Pakistan Condemns 'Unilateral' US Drone Strike

  • Ayaz Gul

A Pakistani soldier takes position in Manatu mountain at the central part of Kurram Agency, Pakistan's tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, during an operation against militants, July 10, 2011.

Pakistan condemned a U.S. drone strike that reportedly killed three members of the dreaded Haqqani terrorist network staging deadly attacks in neighboring Afghanistan.

Local media reported two missiles fired early Wednesday from an unmanned aircraft struck a house in the Kurram border region. The attack destroyed the compound, killing Commander Ehsan, known as Khawari, along with two other militants.

A Pakistani Foreign Ministry statement issued hours later said the drone targeted an Afghan refugee camp in the Spin Thall area.

Islamabad, it added, has continued to emphasize to the United States the importance of sharing "actionable" intelligence to allow Pakistani forces to take "appropriate action" against terrorists.

“Such unilateral actions, as that of today, are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism,” the ministry noted.

It is extremely rare for U.S. officials to comment on drone operations targeting militants inside Pakistan.

The drone strike followed a militant attack Saturday on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul in which 22 people were killed, 14 of them foreign nationals. U.S. citizens were among those killed and wounded, the State Department announced Tuesday.

A man tries to escape from a balcony at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel during an attack by gunmen in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 21, 2018.
A man tries to escape from a balcony at Kabul's Intercontinental Hotel during an attack by gunmen in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 21, 2018.

The Taliban took responsibility for sending five heavily armed suicide bombers to launch the deadly attack. But Afghan authorities accused the Taliban-allied Haqqani network of plotting the violence.

The U.S. believes Haqqanis operate out of Pakistan, and it suspended hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to the country until it prevents the terrorists from undertaking attacks in Afghanistan.

Islamabad denies the allegations it harbors insurgents and consistently blames Afghan refugee localities for serving as militant hideouts.

"Pakistan has also been stressing the need of early repatriation of Afghan refugees as their presence in Pakistan helps Afghan terrorists to melt and morph among them," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Bilateral relations have deteriorated lately, but Pakistani and U.S. officials deny reports of a breakdown in security and intelligence cooperation.

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