ISLAMABAD (AFP) — Pakistan’s government on Thursday condemned the latest US missile strike in its territory while a militant Taliban group warned that another drone attack would bring reprisals within the country.
Odd that. Why would two supposed enemies condemn a strike that hurts one of them? If the Pakistani government is against the Taliban, and if the US strike has obviously pained the Taliban, shouldn’t Pakistan, if not supportive of its “friend and ally” (the US), at least be neutral?
Speaking in parliament, Pakistani premier Yousuf Raza Gilani denounced the latest US spy drone attack which killed six people Wednesday at Bannu district in northwest Pakistan, including a major Al-Qaeda operative.
“These attacks are adding to our problems. They are intolerable and we do not support them,” Gilani told the national assembly.
The foreign ministry also summoned Anne Patterson, the American ambassador to Islamabad, to lodge a strong protest over the air raids that have fuelled public anger, foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Sadiq said in the capital.
Sadiq said the US diplomat was told that “continued drone attacks undermined public support for government counterterrorism efforts and stressed that these attacks must be stopped”.
“It was underscored to the US ambassador that such attacks were a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
Top Pakistani Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur on Thursday warned of reprisals by militants across Pakistan if the US carried out any further drone attacks in tribal territory, a spokesman for the commander said..
Bahadur’s group has been accused by the United States of launching attacks across the border in Afghanistan, but it abstains from violence in the Pakistani territory under an understanding with military authorities.
“We will start revenge attacks across other districts if the US drone attacks do not stop after November 20,” Taliban spokesman Ahmadullah Ahmadi said in a statement.
US spy drones have carried out more than 20 attacks in recent months but Wednesday’s Bannu raid was the first outside the lawless tribal region bordering Afghanistan, known as a stronghold of Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters….