The strike was too unilateral, says Pakistani army, and “could be detrimental to bilateral relations.” “U.S. air strike on al-Qaeda hideout lays bare Pakistan’s border,” by Saeed Shah and Graeme Smith, for the Globe and Mail, July 29:
ISLAMABAD AND KABUL “” U.S. forces struck a suspected al-Qaeda hideout inside Pakistan Monday, exposing growing tensions between the allies over Pakistan’s inability to deal with militants in its tribal regions.
The attack, believed to have killed a top al-Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, came as Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani arrived in Washington in an effort to reassure Americans of his country’s efforts to eradicate the militants based in Pakistan, who are believed to be feeding the rising insurgency in Afghanistan.
While U.S. President George W. Bush praised Pakistan as a “strong ally and a vibrant democracy,” yesterday’s military strikes – the latest in a rash of such U.S. interventions – drew a quick rebuke from Pakistan’s army, which warned they “could be detrimental to bilateral relations.”
At a joint White House press conference, Mr. Bush and Mr. Gilani were left mouthing sentiments incongruous with events on the ground and the behind-the-scenes concerns. The U.S. President said that the “U.S. respects the sovereignty” of Pakistan, while Mr. Gilani reaffirmed his country’s commitment to the fight against terrorism: “This is our war. This is a war against Pakistan.”