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'Pak will no longer allow US to use its airspace to target militants'

Islamabad, Wed, 14 Mar 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Mar 14 (ANI): Pakistan has warned the United States that it will no longer allow the latter to use its airspace to attack militants and collect intelligence on al-Qaeda and other groups.


During her meeting with US Vice President Joe Biden's National Security Adviser Antony Blinken on March 9, Pakistan's Ambassador to Washington Sherry Rehman said Pakistan's political parties had agreed that the drone flights over Pakistan must end, the Bloomberg news service said, citing unnamed US officials.


"Pakistan's sovereignty over its airspace and the civilian casualties that have resulted from drone strikes are emotional issues in Pakistan, where public opinion heavily favours terminating drone missions," The Nation quoted the report cited Pakistani officials, as saying.


"The US will try to reach a point with Pakistani leaders. The only chance for a compromise may be if the US agrees to share intelligence and coordinate strikes first, a strategy Pakistan has long advocated," Pakistani officials said.


The drone programme, which President Barack Obama acknowledged publicly for the first time in January, has been part of US counter-terrorism strategy in Pakistan since 2004, officials and counter-terrorism experts say.


The administration authorized 53 drone attacks in 2009 and 117 in 2010, compared with 35 in 2008 under former president George W Bush, according to Bill Roggio, a US military analyst whose website, the Long War Journal, maintains a database of the campaign. (ANI)


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