Pak concerns over drone strikes raised with US envoy

ISLAMABAD - The visiting special US envoy for the region and Foreign Minister Hena Rabbani Khar on Saturday discussed Pakistan’s reservations over the US drone attacks in the country ‘s tribal regions.

By (Agencies)

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Published: Mon 22 Oct 2012, 9:15 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 1:22 PM

US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman met Khar here on the first day of his visit during which he will also meet military leaders, Radio Pakistan reported.

They discussed bilateral relations and security situation in the region. They also reviewed the latest situation in Afghanistan and agreed to work together to bring stability back to Afghanistan, Radio Pakistan reported.

The foreign ministry said that the visit is part of the ongoing engagements between the two countries and the two sides will discuss all issues of mutual interest as well as concern.

The visit comes at a time when diplomatic efforts for solution of the longstanding Afghan problem are gaining momentum as the endgame approaches.

Meanwhile, Grossman has denied his visit to Pakistan was to push for a military offensive in the restive border region of North Waziristan which Washington regards as a militant haven.

“No, I am here to continue the conversation we have been having with Pakistani leaders over the past several months,” he said in a talk show on state-run Pakistan Television.

Grossman had been asked if his visit was aimed at pushing Pakistan to carry out a military operation in North Waziristan.

Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal region which includes North Waziristan as the main hub of Taleban and Al Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

“On (the) particular question of North Waziristan (offensive) or any other question, that is the decision for the government of Pakistan and solely for the government of Pakistan,” Grossman said.

He, however, declined to comment on the issue of US drone strikes, saying “it is not a topic of conversation for me”.

“What I would like to say is that Pakistanis and Americans can stand up together and declare the end of Al Qaeda in this region. That would be a great joint strategic effort and that I hope will come soon”.

The US diplomat said the relationship between the two countries was “certainly back on track if you compare it with last year.

“What draws our countries together in this multi-faceted relationship is the fact that we are both victims of terrorism”, which is a scourge and “let us fight it together”.

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