Pakistan has formally requested an envoy from the United States to protest a recent drone strike along the Afghanistan border.
The controversial drone strike took place in the region of North Waziristan Friday. Reportedly, a half dozen missiles were fired upon a compound suspected of belonging to a Taliban commander.
An unnamed official stated regarding the attack: “Nine militants were killed in the strike. Those killed were from the local Bakka Khel tribe and they have been identified.”
This comes after last week when Pakistan swore into office new Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sharif has become known as an outspoken opponent of US drone use in Pakistan, making it a platform issue in his election campaign: “We have protested many a time. This is simply unacceptable.”
Regarding the contents of the formal protest, the Pakistani government said:
“Pakistan strongly condemns the drone strikes which are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes was emphasized.”
While US charge d’affaires Richard Hoagland has been formally summoned to Pakistan by the request, US Secretary of State John Kerry is also expected to visit the country later this month. Discussing the US drone program with Prime Minister Sharif is expected to top the agenda.
Last month, President Obama defended the use of drones, citing their use as legal because the US “is at war with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”
Drone use has generated a great deal of controversy because of the difficulty associated with identifying appropriate targets and confirming their deaths. The number of people killed by drones since the start of their use last decade is still highly disputed.
Pakistan officials have emphasized, in their formal protest, that the US drone strikes are “counter-productive, entail the loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications.”
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