Saturday, January 21, 2006

Pakistan Tells Bush Not to Repeat Attack

Senior Pakistani officials told the U.S. on Saturday that the air strike on a Pakistani village last week cannot be repeated and that the two countries must find a way to work in a more bilateral way to avoid loss of civilian life.

The strike last week on the tiny Pakistani village of Damadola, in the tribal territory of Bajur, is believed to have assassinated some key al Qaeda operatives while also killing many civilians, including five young children.

"What happened in Bajur must not be repeated," Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri told U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns on Saturday.

"While reaffirming Pakistan's commitment to counterterrorism, the foreign minister underlined the need for the two countries to work in a manner that precludes recent incidents like Bajur," the foreign ministry said in a statement. "[The Foreign Minister] highlighted the prevailing public sentiment and stressed that such incidents were counterproductive."

It is also important to note that the Pakistan and U.S. governments still have not even confirmed the identity or nationality of any al Qaeda members allegedly killed in the attacks.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told reporters in New York on Friday that there was no "tangible evidence" that any extremists had gathered in Damadola.

Meanwhile, we do know that five children are dead, three from one family. Saying that the U.S. needs to work better with its allies is the understatement of the New Year.