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Pakistan wants to discuss US drone attacks

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 25, 2009
Pakistan said Wednesday it wanted to discuss ending controversial US drone attacks inside its territory as it launches a three-way "war on terror" review with Afghanistan.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi met for a joint dinner with his Afghan counterpart and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before their formal session on Thursday.

Ahead of the talks, Qureshi said he wanted to discuss the attacks in Pakistan by US unmanned drones which have apparently killed wanted Al-Qaeda militants but also numerous civilians.

"It has alienated people and to win this fight, we need to win the hearts and minds of people," Qureshi said in an interview on CNN.

"What I've suggested is let's weigh the advantages and the disadvantages. If the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, then we are reviewing the whole strategy and this should be on the table as well," he said.

Qureshi called for the United States to let Pakistan carry out attacks, saying it would resolve disputes on sovereignty.

The three-way session comes as President Barack Obama's administration puts a new focus on fighting extremism in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, where he is sending 17,000 more US troops.

Qureshi said that while he understood the US desire to stabilize Afghanistan, the three-way review should also look at any "implications for Pakistan."

Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants forced out of Afghanistan have holed up in lawless parts of Pakistan, which has come under growing fire in Washington for not eliminating the haven.

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