US says drone strikes are effective, causing low collateral damage
Washington, Mar 29 (ANI): US National Security Adviser General James Jones has said that Washington and Islamabad will decide 'collaboratively' whether to continue US drone strikes inside Pakistan as they were turning out to be effective against militants hiding there.
General Jones defended the drones strikes as effective and said they were causing low collateral damage in an interview after President Barak Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
"They are having an affect (but) whether they continue or not will be up to the Pakistani government and our government working side by side in a collaborative way," The Dawn quoted General Jones, as saying.
"The attacks have done a couple of things: One, they have been targeted very specifically against al Qaeda, two, they produce very low collateral damage," he said.
This marks the first time a senior US official spoke on record on the drone attacks. US officials usually do not acknowledge their involvement in these attacks and instead urge journalists to contact Pakistani authorities whenever such an attack takes place.
The Bush Administration first ordered for the drone strikes inside Pakistan's tribal areas. The Obama Administration has not only continued those strikes, but have indicated recently that the drones may attack targets inside Balochistan as well.
Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher assured Pakistan that his country had no plans to send American troops inside the Pakistani territory.
Boucher said Pakistanis, a US ally in the fight against terrorism, were operating on their side of the border. "We operate differently on the other side of the border."
The US understood that the Pakistanis did not want American forces inside Pakistan. "We'll respect that, but at the same time we want to make sure we are them supporting properly," he said.
Another US official charged with implementing US policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke, acknowledged frustrations, calling the fight to bring stability to Pakistani border areas "the most daunting challenge" of the new regional plan because Pakistan had imposed a red line. (ANI)