Nod-and-wink approach to drones demeaning: Pakistani daily

Last Updated: Sat, May 21, 2011 06:51 hrs

Islamabad: The nod-and-wink approach to drone strikes is 'demeaning and self-defeating', said a Pakistani daily after US cables accessed by WikiLeaks revealed that army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had supported the drone attacks.

An editorial in the The News International Saturday said that publicly, the army and the government have always condemned drone attacks as a violation of Pakistan's airspace and sovereignty.

'But now, secret internal US government cables reveal that Pakistan's top military brass supports US drone strikes in Pakistan, despite public posturing to the contrary.'

US cables showed that way back in January 2008, the country's military was asking the US for greater drone back-up for its military efforts.

In a meeting Jan 22, 2008 with top US military official Admiral William J. Fallon, Gen Kayani asked Washington to provide 'continuous Predator coverage of the conflict area' in South Waziristan.

The editorial said that when a drone attack killed 40 in the North Waziristan Agency, Gen Kayani 'came out in a manner uncharacteristic of him and strongly condemned the attack, calling it 'senseless,' 'careless' and 'callous'.'

It went on to say that the most important element in 'all these contradictory, not to mention confusing, statements point to is a lack of clarity on Pakistan's drone policy, and the implications of the continuing ambiguity'.

'...military and political leaders should publicly change their stated position, openly seek greater cooperation with US forces to yield success in the long term, and move on.

'On the other hand, if the army and government really are against the strikes and think they do more harm than good, then they should stop bemoaning them in public and supporting them in private.'

It bluntly said that 'the nod-and-wink approach to drone strikes is demeaning and self-defeating'.

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