Zardari Raises Concerns Over Drone Attacks With US Delegation

ISLAMABAD (TIP):President Asif Ali Zardari onThursday described US droneattacks in Pakistan’s tribalareas as “counterproductive”,saying the two countriesneed to “find a way out” inthe campaign againstmilitants operating in theregion.The drone attacks arecausing “great damage”among the people, Zardaritold a visiting delegation ofthe US Senate ForeignRelations Committee headedby its chairman RobertMenendez during a meetingat the presidency.

Zardari also voicedconcern over continuedmilitant attacks on thePakistan army andparamilitary troops from theAfghan side of the border,presidential spokesmanFarhatullah Babar said.The president stressed theneed for NATO and Afghansecurity forces to act as an”anvil to Pakistan’s hammeroperations”.The two sides discussedseveral issues, includingbilateral relations, the fightagainst militancy and theregional situation, duringtwo rounds of talks.

A delegation-level meetingwas followed by another onein which Zardari wasassisted by foreign ministerHina Rabbani Khar.CIA-operated spy planeshave carried out scores ofattacks in the lawless tribalbelt bordering Afghanistanthat have killed top al-Qaidaand Taliban leaders,including Tehrik-e-TalibanPakistan chief BaitullahMehsud.However, rights groups saydozens of civilians have alsodied in the attacks.During his talks with theUS delegation, Zardari alsoreferred to the need toacknowledge sacrifices madeby Pakistan in the fightagainst militancy.The blame-game “will notserve the common purpose ofdefeating militants”, he said.

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