Panetta: Predator Drone
Campaign Will Continue in Pakistan
June 7, 2012
U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday the United States had
no plans to curtail drone attacks on Pakistani soil, adding to target
terrorist leaders "is also about our sovereignty."
courtesy of the U.S. Air Force shows a unmanned MQ-1 Predator drone.
Panetta issued the defense of the strikes during a visit to New Delhi.
He said Washington has always made it very clear that it will defend
itself, and that the strikes also benefit the Pakistani people, since
they were also targets of the insurgents.
His comments came one day after the White House confirmed the killing of
al-Qaida's second-in-command, Abu Yahya al-Libi, apparently in a drone
strike in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region. The White House
characterized the strike as a major blow against al-Qaida.
Pakistan's foreign ministry has said "the strategic disadvantages of
such attacks far outweigh their tactical advantages, and are therefore,
receives billions of dollars in aid from the United States. And until
relations plummeted after Pakistan shut down NATO supply routes to
Afghanistan to protest a U.S. airstrike that mistakenly killed 24
Pakistani troops last November, it also enjoyed military-to-military
Panetta's visit to India is aimed at deepening defense cooperation with
Pakistan's nuclear-armed rival. Moreover, NATO recently secured
alternative routes into Afghanistan through Central Asia, and
Washington, ignoring Islamabad's protests, has continued airstrikes
targeting militants hiding out in Pakistan's tribal belt.
Pakistan's Foreign Ministry spokesman Moazzam Ali Khan played down the
differences between Islamabad and Washington. He insisted that while
there may be ups-and-downs in the relationship, both sides want to
resolve their differences in ways that are mutually acceptable.