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Agence France-Presse

Pakistan: No Justification For US Drone Attacks

Pakistan has said that US drone strikes in the north-west have "neither justification nor understanding".


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said Thursday there was "no justification nor understanding" for US drone strikes on its soil that have ramped up to record levels in the past month.

"We believe that they are counter-productive and also a violation of our sovereignty," foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told reporters, adding:

"We hope that the US will revisit its policy."

Basit said that the drone war was "not serving the larger strategic interests, especially in the context of our efforts to win hearts and minds, which is part and parcel of our strategy against militants and terrorists".

Eight people were killed Wednesday in the latest attacks by the pilotless planes against militants in North Waziristan tribal district, security officials said.

The US has launched a record number of strikes since September 3 - a total of 26 drone attacks that have killed 149 people, according to officials.

Since August 2008, 142 strikes have been launched, killing more than 1,100 people.

Officials in Washington say in the past drone strikes have killed a number of high-value targets including former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud and it has branded the remote border region the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.

However, the attacks fuel anti-American sentiment in the country.

Pakistan's ambassador in Washington, Hussein Haqqani, told the BBC that the increase in strikes in North Waziristan came after intelligence agencies uncovered the plot to "attack multiple targets in Europe".

He also said that a drone strike on Monday in the district which killed eight militants, including five Germans, was linked to the plot.

The United States does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the pilotless aircraft in the region.


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