Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pakistan Urges Obama to Stop Missile Strikes

Update: The Washington Post has a new story that sums up what's going on in Pakistan. Read it here.
Juan Williams of NPR said this morning that Obama authorized the missile strikes yesterday that killed up to 22 militants and apparently some civilians (there have been a number of estimates). Joe Biden, who recently visited Pakistan, will be on Face the Nation tomorrow, so we should get some more details. Obama hasn't commented on the strikes but appointed Richard Holbrooke, special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Pakistan is urging Obama to stop:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan urged President Barack Obama to halt U.S. missile strikes on al-Qaida strongholds near the Afghan border, saying Saturday that civilians were killed the previous day in the first attacks since Obama's inauguration.

Pakistani security officials said eight suspected foreign militants, including an Egyptian al-Qaida operative, were among 22 people killed in Friday's twin strikes in the Waziristan region.

But the Foreign Ministry said that the attacks by unmanned aircraft also killed an unspecified number of civilians and that it had informed U.S. officials of its "great concern."

"With the advent of the new U.S. administration, it is Pakistan's sincere hope that the United States will review its policy and adopt a more holistic and integrated approach toward dealing with the issue of terrorism and extremism," a ministry statement said.

"We maintain that these attacks are counterproductive and should be discontinued," it said.

Pakistani leaders complain that stepped-up missile strikes _ there have been more than 30 since August _ fan anti-American sentiment and undermine the government's own efforts to counter Islamist militants.