Pakistan’s president pressedto halt cross-border U.S. missile strikes targeting militants in his country’s volatile tribal regions, the Pakistani said.
“These drone attacks are unproductive, and they are contributing to alienation as opposed to winning people over,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in an interview after briefing reporters on the 20-minute meeting between Rice and President Asif Ali Zardari.
By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer
The U.S. military is believed to have carried out at least 18 missile attacks on suspected militant targets close to the border in Pakistan since August. The missiles are believed to be fired from unmanned planes launched in Afghanistan, where some 32,000 U.S. troops are fighting a resurgent Taliban insurgency.
The strikes also should be halted to avoid the inadvertent deaths of civilians, Qureshi said. “In fact, what is required is more sharing of intelligence information. What is required is building Pakistan’s capacity to deal with insurgency,” he said.
State Department officials declined to comment on the meeting.
President-elect Barack Obama‘s incoming administration presents a fresh opportunity for Pakistan to emphasize more dialogue and development, Qureshi said.
Pakistani President Zardari has repeatedly objected to U.S. use of drones like this. DoD photo
“We’ll be discussing with them a more comprehensive strategy. Because Pakistan is of the view that military means is not the be-all and the end-all,” he said.