Clin­ton comes face-to-face with Pak­istani anger over loss of civil­ians to air at­tacks

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - World - BY ROBERT BURNS

IS­LAM­ABAD, PAK­ISTAN — U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Hil­lary Rod­ham Clin­ton came faceto-face Fri­day with Pak­istani anger over U.S. aerial drone at­tacks in tribal ar­eas along the Afghan bor­der, a strat­egy that U.S. of­fi­cials say has suc­ceeded in killing key ter­ror­ist leaders.

In a se­ries of pub­lic ap­pear­ances on the fi­nal day of a three-day visit marked by blunt talk, Clin­ton re­fused to dis­cuss the sub­ject, which in­volves highly classified CIA op­er­a­tions. She would say only that “there is a war go­ing on,” and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is com­mit­ted to help­ing Pak­istan de­feat the in­sur­gents and ter­ror­ists who threaten the sta­bil­ity of a nu­clear-armed na­tion.

Clin­ton said she could not com­ment on “any par­tic­u­lar tac­tic or tech­nol­ogy” used in the war against ex­trem­ist groups in the area.

The use of Preda­tor drone air­craft, armed with guided mis­siles, is cred­ited by U.S. of­fi­cials with elim­i­nat­ing a grow­ing num­ber of se­nior ter­ror­ist group leaders this year who had used the tribal lands of Pak­istan as a haven be­yond the reach of U.S. ground forces in Afghanistan.

Dur­ing an in­ter­view broad­cast live in Pak­istan with sev­eral prom­i­nent fe­male TV an­chors, be­fore a pre­dom­i­nantly fe­male au­di­ence of sev­eral hun­dred, one mem­ber of the au­di­ence said the Preda­tor at­tacks amount to “ex­e­cu­tions without trial” for those killed.

An­other asked Clin­ton how she would de­fine ter­ror­ism.

“Is it the killing of peo­ple in drone at­tacks?” she asked. That woman then asked if Clin­ton con­sid­ers drone at­tacks and bomb­ings like the one that killed more than 100 civil­ians in the city of Pe­shawar ear­lier this week to both be acts of ter­ror­ism.

“No, I do not,” Clin­ton replied.

Ear­lier, in a give-and­take with about a dozen res­i­dents of the tribal re­gion, one man al­luded obliquely to the drone at­tacks, say­ing he had heard that in the United States, air­craft are not al­lowed to take off af­ter 11 p.m., to avoid ir­ri­tat­ing the pop­u­la­tion.

“ That is the sort of peace we want for our peo­ple,” he said through an in­ter­preter.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.