ISLAMABAD (TIP): Glossing over strained bilateral ties for over two years, the United States and Pakistan on August 1 agreed to resume the stalled strategic dialogue while Washington played down Islamabad’s concerns over continuing American drone strikes in its lawless northwestern tribal regions to take out Taliban militants. “We are here to speak honestly with each other, openly about any gaps that may exist and we want to bridge,” US secretary of state John Kerry said during his longanticipated visit to Islamabad, the first high-level contact after the Nawaz Sharif government took charge.
“Our people deserve that we talk directly,” he said. Bilateral ties hit an all-time low in 2011 when US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in the tribal region, bordering Afghanistan, and after al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was killed in the garrison town of Abbottabad in a daring secret raid by helicopter-borne US commandos. Pakistanis by CIA contractor Raymond Davis in Lahore.