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US Refuses Plea to End Drone Attacks in Pakistan

After Pakistan Bid to Curb Civilian Deaths, Washington Denies Deal

- Common Dreams staff

Yesterday, the Pakistani government presented the US with a list of immediate demands, including a total end to CIA drone bombing and that “no overt or covert operations inside Pakistan shall be permitted”. The demand would have been in exchange for a reopening of NATO supply lines through the country.

Unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File) The same parliamentary resolution also demanded that the Obama administration apologize for the US airstrikes in November that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

However, today US officials denied these requests, stating that Washington has no intentions to end CIA drone strikes against militant targets on Pakistani soil.

This is the second time the US has refused pleas from Pakistan to end such attacks, the first being in 2008.

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Associated Press: US officials: Drone strikes will go on in Pakistan

U.S officials say the White House has no intentions to end CIA drone strikes against militant targets on Pakistani soil. That could set the two countries up for diplomatic tensions after Pakistan's parliament unanimously approved new guidelines for the country's troubled relationship with the United States.

The guidelines allow for the blockade on NATO supplies to be lifted, but also demand a halt to CIA-led missile attacks.

U.S. officials say they will work to find common ground with Pakistan over the coming weeks, but if a suspected terrorist target comes into the laser sights of a CIA drone's hellfire missiles, they will take the shot. [...]

It's not the first time the U.S. has ignored Pakistan's parliament, which demanded an end to drone strikes in 2008. What's different now is that the Pakistani government is in a more fragile political state, and can no longer continue its earlier practice of quietly allowing the U.S. action while publicly denouncing it, Pakistani officials say.

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Reuters: Pakistan parliament committee demands end to U.S. drone strikes

A Pakistani parliamentary committee reviewing ties with the United States demanded on Tuesday a halt to U.S. drone aircraft strikes in Pakistan, a request likely to do little to help mend a badly frayed alliance between the countries.

A NATO attack across the border from Afghanistan on November 26 killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and created a deep crisis and prompted Pakistan to review ties with the United States, a source of about $20 billion in aid over the last decade. [...]

A halt in drone strikes and an unconditional apology for the "condemnable and unprovoked" NATO attack were the national security committee's main recommendations, its chairman Raza Rabbani, told parliament. [...]

What the committee has said is not foreign policy," said Hasan Askari Rizvi, an independent political analyst. "These are only guidelines, which the government can consider while devising foreign policy."

"This is just a wish list."

Pakistanis have long publicly complained about the drone strikes and demanded they be halted while privately approving and even aiding in their execution.

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