US must hand over drone expertise to Pak: Haqqani

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Washington, Jan.30 (ANI): Reiterating Islamabad's consistent demand of having the drone technology, Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani has urged the Obama administration to provide it the technical expertise to enable it to take stern action against militants inside Pakistan's territory .

"Pakistan would rather have the technical expertise with which it can combat militants on its border with Afghanistan than have the US fire missiles into Pakistani territory. The government of Pakistan has repeatedly said that it would like to have the capability to identify the targets on ground," Haqqani said.

During an interview with the National Public Radio (NPR), Haqqani said the Pakistani Army has the capability to take on the extremists, but it lacks technical expertise to continue the war on terror.

He said that while the drone strikes have killed many top militant commanders, it has also resulted in huge civilian casualties, which has added fuel to the anti-US sentiment in Pakistan.

"You must also understand that when you have unmanned aerial vehicles drop missiles and kill innocents, it infuriates public opinion and then obviously the Pakistani government has to stand by Pakistani public opinion," The Dawn quoted Haqqani, as saying.

Responding to a question concerning President Obama's plans to gradually pull out from Afghanistan, Haqqani said he believes that the US would not abandon the war-ravaged country like it did in the 1980's.

"My understanding from interactions with senior officials in the United States is that the Obama administration does not wish to walk away from Afghanistan and that it understands the cost of doing so. Nobody wants a Central Asian Somalia or a failed state as a legacy," he said.

"After all, they don't want anybody plotting and planning attacks against America sitting in Afghanistan," he added. (ANI)

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