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Pakistan Says No to Drone Strikes, CIA Operations

VOA News April 12, 2011

Pakistani and American officials say Pakistan has demanded the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency halt unmanned drone strikes against militants in the country.

The officials say Pakistan also wants the U.S. to reduce the number of intelligence operatives and Special Operations forces in Pakistan.

The requests come as leaders from both countries work to repair relations amid recent tensions.

CIA Director Leon Panetta hosted talks Monday with his Pakistani counterpart General Ahmed Shuja Pasha. A CIA spokesman said after the meeting that the relationship between the two intelligence services "remains on solid footing."

Pakistani officials say the drone strikes have gone too far. The strikes are immensely unpopular with the public, and the government publicly condemns the actions as a violation of the country's sovereignty.

However, many analysts suspect Pakistan coordinates with the U.S. on the strikes.

Relations were strained earlier this year when Pakistan detained a CIA contractor accused of killing two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore. The U.S. said Raymond Davis had diplomatic immunity and acted in self-defense.

He was released after victims' families accepted compensation.

The White House has also criticized Pakistan's counterterrorism efforts, saying it had no clear path to defeating Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.

Pakistan rejected the report, saying it has sacrificed many lives battling militants and that it cannot be held responsible for Western coalition failures in Afghanistan.

The U.S. ambassador to Islamabad, Cameron Munter, said Monday bilateral ties needed to be improved and that the U.S. wants to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan.

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