`Drones will strike Pakistan as long as US wants`

There was a two-month pause in US drone activity following NATO airstrikes in November in which 24 Pakistani soldiers died.

Islamabad: Despite Pakistan`s objections, US drone strikes are going to continue as long as America thinks they are useful, said a Pakistani daily.

An editorial in the News International on Friday said the "drones are back in business".

There was a two-month pause in drone activity following NATO airstrikes in November last year in which 24 Pakistani soldiers died.

Pakistan`s ties with the US came under a severe strain after the airstrikes on two Pakistani Army checkposts in Mohmand Agency in the northwest region. Islamabad promptly barred the passage of NATO supplies through the country and decided to boycott an international conference focussed on the future course of action in Afghanistan. It also told the US to vacate the key Shamsi airbase in Balochistan that was used to launch drone strikes.

The editorial said despite "Pakistan`s objections, drones - which no longer fly from our territory - are again operational".

"The Americans, doubtless in the spirit of fraternal relations, telephoned `senior officials` before the strikes resumed and carried on regardless of any objection Pakistan may have," it said.

Taking a dig at intelligence sharing between Pakistan and the US, the editorial said: "They will not be sharing any targeting information with us because it is alleged that we have been `leaky` in the past and given the state of relations currently are probably regarded as `leaky` for the foreseeable future. They will, however, be using intelligence provided by Pakistan - and one must wonder what informal or hidden agreements allow this bilateral sharing of intelligence."

"It appears that the drone strikes are going to continue as long as America thinks they are useful...," it added.

IANS

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