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US senators defend Pakistan drone attacks

Last Updated: Friday, January 8, 2010 - 16:28

Islamabad: US senators defended on Friday American drone aircraft strikes in Pakistan, an issue likely to become more volatile if Washington intensifies the attacks to hunt down enemies after the bombing of CIA agents in Afghanistan.
Pakistan officially objects to the drone attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty. And it has pushed Washington to provide it with the drones to allow it to carry out its own attacks.

"We don`t agree on every issue. We believe that, as I have stated and as our government has stated, that it is one of many tools that we must use to try to defeat a very determined and terrible enemy," said US Senator John McCain.

There have been a high number of pilotless drone aircraft attacks in Pakistan since a double agent blew himself up at a US base in Afghanistan on December 30, killing seven CIA agents.

That blast, which marked a huge CIA intelligence failure, will pile pressure on the US military to kill high-profile militants based along the Afghan-Pakistan frontier.

Drones are seen by the United States as one of the most effective weapons to achieve that goal in a global hub for militants, including top al Qaeda and Taliban figures.

The strikes have killed some prominent al Qaeda militants.

Pakistan has not objected to ones that have killed militants fighting the Pakistani state, such as Pakistan Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

It does oppose strikes on what it sees as strategic regional assets such as the Afghan Haqqani militant group. Pakistan believes the group can give it leverage in Afghanistan if the country is gripped by chaos again.

Bureau Report

First Published: Friday, January 8, 2010 - 16:28

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