Pakistan prime minister urges Obama to end drone strikes

by
October 24, 2013

WASHINGTON | Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday urged U.S. President Barack Obama to end drone strikes in Pakistan, touching on a sore subject just as relations between the two countries improve after years of suspicion over Afghanistan and the U.S. counterterrorism fight.

“I … brought up the issue of drones in our meeting, emphasizing the need for an end to such strikes,” Sharif told reporters after meeting with Obama in the Oval Office.

Relations were badly strained following the 2011 Navy SEAL raid that killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden deep inside Pakistan where he was in hiding. But they appear to be on the mend as the United States prepares to pull forces out of Afghanistan in 2014.

The United States has quietly restarted security assistance to Pakistan after freezing aid during the period of soured relations, when Washington frequently voiced complaints about the ties of the Pakistani intelligence service to militant groups active in Afghanistan.

A series of major setbacks in recent years included a 2011 NATO air strike that mistakenly killed Pakistani border guards and another incident that year in which a CIA contractor killed two men on the streets of Lahore.

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