Angry Pakistan Tells America: 'Stop Launching Missile Strikes Over Our Territory' as 20 More Die
Frustrated Pakistani officials have ordered the U.S. to stop firing pilotless missiles over their territory.
Pakistan summoned the U.S. ambassador early this morning to protest the missile strikes, led by pilotless U.S. aircraft on the Pakistani side of its border with Afghanistan.
America has increased the number of strikes into the country in an increasingly desperate attempt to halt the intensifying insurgency in Afghanistan. Hampered by a lack of cooperation and communication with locals, U.S. officials recently decided to resort to more missile attacks in the battle against the Taliban and al Qaeda.
There have been more than a dozen missile strikes and a commando raid since the beginning of September.
No senior al Qaeda or Taliban commanders have been reported killed in the attacks.
But with scores of civilians - many of them children - also dying in the attacks, as well as the damage done to property, Pakistan - once the U.S.'s strongest Middle Eastern ally in the war on terror - is demanding a halt.
Pakistan never gave the U.S. permission to carry out the attacks. Two days ago missiles fired by a suspected U.S. drone killed up to 20 militants in the lawless South Waziristan border region. Coming hard on the heels of repeated attacks with civilian casualties, the Pakistani government decided to reassert itself.
"It was underscored to the ambassador that the government of Pakistan strongly condemns the missile attacks which resulted in the loss of precious lives and property," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement.
"It was emphasised that such attacks were violation of Pakistan's sovereignty and should be stopped immediately."
U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson had previously been summoned to the Foreign Ministry last month after a cross-border ground assault by U.S. commandos on Sept. 3.
Senior U.S. officials have spoken of respect for Pakistani sovereignty but have declined to rule out more strikes.
Pakistan, an important ally in the U.S.-led war on terror, is also battling militants on its side of the border but it says cross-border U.S. strikes undermine its efforts to isolate the militants and build support for government policy against them.
The upper house Senate adopted a resolution this week condemning cross-border missile attacks by the U.S. drones.