Despite Pakistani condemnation, US to continue drone strikes: Panetta

Published: May 5, 2012

In an interview, defence secretary says drone strikes protect America. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta said on Saturday that the US will continue to launch drone strikes against militants in Pakistan even if the Pakistani government opposes it.

Giving an interview to PBS news, Panetta said that the drone strikes protect America. “The United States is going to defend itself under any circumstances.”

Referring to the 9/11 attack, Panetta said, “we are going to do everything we can, use whatever operations we have to, in order to make sure that we protect this country and make sure that that kind of attack never happens again.”

The Foreign Office of Pakistan had strongly condemned the drone attack in North Waziristan which killed 10 people on Saturday morning, in addition to lodging a complaint over a drone strike last Sunday when a drone targeting militants blew up a girls school in North Waziristan.

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Reader Comments (48)

  • BlackJack
    May 5, 2012 - 10:35PM

    The story is moving into an interesting phase.

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  • Peace
    May 5, 2012 - 10:37PM

    Shame! Killing helpless people

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    May 5, 2012 - 11:11PM

    US is spending a lot of tax payers money to stop terrorism but even after eleven years it could not stop terrorism to make America safe.

    If US is not going to change its attitude, a time will come when Pakistan will refuse to cooperate with US.

    US thinks that by attacking Pakistan with drone attacks, it can work out a future strategy with Pakistan, bit it is not going to work at all.

    Americans are the most coward nation on earth, but this is not the case with the Pakistani nation.

    We all know how to protect our motherland. When the time will come, US will see it self. We are neither Afghanistan, nor Iraq. We are all one, under one banner, one flag, one Quran.

    If Jihad is imposed on us, each and every person in Pakistan will be ready to die, any time. No one on earth can shake our unshakable determination.

    PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

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  • Nikarish
    May 5, 2012 - 11:12PM

    Why cant pakistan clear its own mess?

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  • AnisAqeel
    May 5, 2012 - 11:13PM

    It is beyond my understanding that when a terrorist is punished why do we condemn this action and start shouting the slogan of sovereignty without thinking others sovereignty. We let the terrorist train on our soil, plan on our soil, protected and financed on our soil and finally use them on other country’s soil and if these terrorist are punished, we start crying foul. What a double standard that is destroying the entire country just to please our ego and the Mullahs.

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  • Ali Tanoli
    May 5, 2012 - 11:20PM

    Two things are in my mind one they cant do any thing else so anger is releasing like this,
    and second thing is pakistan does allowed this in back door to do it…Recommend

  • ishtiaer hussain
    May 5, 2012 - 11:31PM

    Let’s not forget the fact that America is doing us a great favor by eliminating the snakes free of cost that we should have dealt with. The actual reality in North Waziristan is that our Army has to take permission (or in some cases, they ask for protection guarantees) from Taliban for taking convoys through their areas. How long will we remain blind to the snakes that are being raised in our backyard that are pushing us to the brink as a nation? They don’t have the capability to attack American mainland from the rugged mountains where they live because American forces will never allow them to do this. But they will keep destroying our country and we will keep blaming CIA, Mossad and RAW for all the mess in our country never pointing our real enemies from within.

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  • hassan
    May 5, 2012 - 11:34PM

    We will we will drone you
    We will we will drone you
    Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise
    Playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day
    You got mud on yo’ face – You big disgrace
    Kickin’ your can all over the place

    Singin’

    We will
    we will drone you

    Buddy you’re a young man,hard man
    Shoutin’ in the street gonna take on the world some day
    You got blood on yo’ face – Y’ big disgrace
    Wavin’ your banner all over the place

    We will
    we will drone you

    Buddy you’re an old man,poor man
    Pleadin’ with your eyes gonna make you some peace,some day
    You got mud on your face – big disgrace
    Somebody better put you back into yo’ place

    Singin’
    We will
    we will drone you

    Leon Panetta doing an impersonation of Freddie Mercury
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  • Mohammad
    May 5, 2012 - 11:50PM

    Beggars cannot be choosers…………….

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  • Mirza
    May 5, 2012 - 11:56PM

    Thank you very much sir. No matter who does it and how they do it, as long as there are terrorist havens in Pakistan their elimination should continue. If half a million strong Pakistani army is not going to protect the civilian population then the UN should. The rightwing alliance wants to convert all of Pakistan a Talibanistan.

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  • Hairaan
    May 6, 2012 - 12:05AM

    Drone attacks are creating more US enemies than they are actually destroying.

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  • WhatisThetruth
    May 6, 2012 - 12:17AM

    And so the Pakistani-US treachery continues, the US bombs, PK condems, innocent people die, and we move onto the next drone attack. Meanwhile, there is a host of US/Pk diplomatic activity meant to keep the Pk public confused about the actual issues at stake. It hurts me deeply, but why do we not have any credible political analyst that can give us a perspective of what is going on. I accidentally read M Bhadramukar’s article in the asia times website, and left feeling…an Indian diplomat with this type of thinking. Before people start calling me an Indian or anything like that, my point is, why do we not have any strategic thinkers, politcians, generals? The closest within the current political environment we have is probably the likes of Dr Shahid Masood, but he is a journalist. Nawaz Sharif, when he went to the US was busy buying Rolex Watches. The least said about Zardari the better. Mahmood Shah Qureshi…what can we say? I read foreign papers to get an understanding of the wider political issues facing our country. ET shame on you for not having a decent analyst writing in your paper.

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  • Ashar
    May 6, 2012 - 12:36AM

    There is something fishy about this issue. We are not objecting it to the extent that they stop them while the correct move is to deter them with our air power, which we are not referring to, otherwise it is a matter of only a signal to our good air force that the drone strikes will vanish away.
    however the assertion of US that the very action has a legal cover give rise to a confusion that what sort of legal cover is this. something right according to US law is not always applicable in Pakistan and air strike of this type can be the most extreme step that a country may take in to other country, our soverignity seems to be at stake and they are confident upon thier action even after the closure of NATO route of back up.

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  • bangash
    May 6, 2012 - 12:41AM

    Correct posture. US must not give in to Pakistani blackmail on NATO supply line and continue attacks on terrorists in FATA. I say introduce gunship helicopters and AC-130 into the mix as well. Recommend

  • Batman
    May 6, 2012 - 12:47AM

    How is US protecting itself by targetting people whose only concern is liberating their land from foreign occupation? Panettas statement a few months back was much more accurate “I’ll do everything to protect the American troops in Afghanistan”. Meaning he is willing to kill even innocent Pakistani and Afghan people as long as it means safety for his occupying forces….this is the pinnacle of savagery and cowardice.

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  • Hamid Khan, Lahore
    May 6, 2012 - 1:07AM

    There is one sure way to get the U.S. to stop the drone attacks on the terrorists in PAK: Get the PAK military and intelligence forces to go after those terrorists. But we all know that that is not going to happen, particularly when the ISI is complicit with the terrorists, and the military is penetrated by them. Just look at how OBL was able to get refuge within a stone’s throw of an elite military facility. What does that tell you? Incompetent or complicit or both!

    In any case, are the PAKs so blind not to recognize that these terrorists have killed a lot of PAKs and that the U.S. is doing the PAKs a big favor by going after the terrorists sheltered in PAK?

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  • Mirza Zulfiqar Baig
    May 6, 2012 - 1:34AM

    Drone attacks will not stop during PPP Government.

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  • Sher khan
    May 6, 2012 - 1:34AM

    Rofl on Pakistani authority, can’t do anything, hollow words

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  • May 6, 2012 - 1:36AM

    And despite your extra ordinary pressure, we will make sure that NATO supply lines aren’t opened.

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  • Pungi
    May 6, 2012 - 1:40AM

    Shame on u USA.. & Shame on pseudo intellectuals in Pakistan as well who are supporting these deadly drones..!

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  • Has
    May 6, 2012 - 2:27AM

    No empire is for ever, Roman empire, Persian empire, Mongol empire all were defeated.
    So American empire who is in debt would soon be the end…
    Drones have killed more than 1000 innocent humans in Pakistan.
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  • Raj - USA
    May 6, 2012 - 2:27AM

    I can bet my last penny that as soon as Obama wins the 2nd term, Pakistan shall see actual boots on the ground from US and NATO forces. Pakistan has always read incorrectly the determination of the World community. This war was not popular in US and rest of the World during the Bush era. Obama has totally reversed it. Even at that time, everyone supported US action in Afghanistan and Pakistan but only opposed US action in Iraq. At that time US was dealing with Iraq and also Afghanistan and Pakistan, all at the same time. Al Quaida was powerful at that time. Still US managed. Now US has only Pakistan to deal with. Al Quaida is almost non-existant and OBL is gone. Pakistan’s character is almost predictable. As they keep loosing to US, the terrorists based in Pakistan shall increase their attacks on Pakistanis. The religious extremists shall vent out their frustration by targeting the minorities and increase their activities such as kill Shias, persecute Ahmedis, convert Hindus, blow up girls schools, burn Baluchistan and escalate ethnic and sectarian violence in Sindh.

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  • Harry Stone
    May 6, 2012 - 3:32AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    You mean PAK is cooperating with the US. Too funny!

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  • ayesha_khan
    May 6, 2012 - 3:37AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: “We all know how to protect our motherland. When the time will come, US will see it self. We are neither Afghanistan, nor Iraq. We are all one, under one banner, one flag, one Quran.”

    SO when will the time come? As far as I can see – Rayond Davis happened, Abbotabad happened, Salal happened, drones continue to happen for the last 5 years and no response from the army.

    Secondly was Iraq not under one flag and one banner? What’s different about Pakistan? And did this same people with one flag, one banner , one Quran not lay down arms and surrender to India?

    I am a Muslim myself and would never make fun of Quran but I am amused by your violent country’s establishment convincing you that you are the sole custodians of Islam. You are not! Muslims like me are safer in India than Muslims in Pakistan.

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  • ayesha_khan
    May 6, 2012 - 3:40AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: “US is spending a lot of tax payers money to stop terrorism but even after eleven years it could not stop terrorism to make America safe.”

    Maybe you read different newspapers from the ones I read. As far as I know there has not been any terror attack on USA in almost 11 years. Also they managed to fly simple helicopters across your airspace undeteced and killed Osama.

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  • Feroze
    May 6, 2012 - 3:50AM

    If we want the drone strikes to stop, we need to get our act together. We cannot let our territory be used by the likes of AQ to launch attacks against us or any body else. Don’t allow sanctuaries to these terrorist and all will be well.

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  • A real Bloch
    May 6, 2012 - 4:06AM

    USA will be go down like USSR do. USSR broke into 14 pieces, USA will break into 52. American dream will end in Afghanistan.

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  • Its (still) Econonmy Stupid
    May 6, 2012 - 4:16AM

    Protest or strong protest or whatever is for local consumption. Official protest with a wink is part of the deal ex-CEO noegotiated.

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  • Polpot
    May 6, 2012 - 4:31AM

    @Peace: Shame! Killing helpless people/;
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You mean Shame! Killing helpless terrorists?

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  • Anjaan
    May 6, 2012 - 5:14AM

    Why is such a great deal being made out of the drone strikes in Pakistan ? After all drone strikes do not affect Pakistan’s military power in any way, nor does it change the balace of power within or around Pakistan. The dorne strikes, while eliminating terrorists, violate Pakistan’s sovereignty in a region where Pakistan has little sovereignty left.

    The truth is, drone strikes are symbolic actions by a superpower that sends a message to its ally-gone-rogue about who the boss is. Also this a part of a coversation and a bargain going on between them.

    This conversation however is also an important tool to mislead and confuse the powers in the region who have a stake in Afghanistan. In my opinion, as long as these drone strikes and the billions of dollars in aid with fancy names go hand in hand, one need not read too much into it.Recommend

  • faraz
    May 6, 2012 - 5:16AM

    We have already played our last card that of Nato supply line. Where are those who claimed that US marines had no toilet papers when we closed supply line for 10 days? We never come out of our delusions of grandeur

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  • Cautious
    May 6, 2012 - 5:17AM

    The reality is that the only country in the World that is condemning these drone strikes is Pakistan – you have little or no sympathy from the international community on this issue. Time to wake up and smell the roses.

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  • Naeem Khan, Manhattan,KS.
    May 6, 2012 - 6:00AM

    Americans has shot themselves in the foot before and don’t expect anything different this time. The more they kill in the FATA, the more they are alienating the local population and pushing them in the arms of those who are already fighting the Americans. How long it will take for the Americans to pacify the Afghans and FATA people , perhaps another 10 years. This is ludicrous of Obama’s administration by killing more and more civilians as I see it they are so frustrated because after 10 long years they don’t see any victory and this ragtag Taliban has stood up to them and will stand till the foreign occupiers leave their country. Obama’s frustration is also visible, no victory in sight and he start blaming the Pakistanis for their own failings.Any one remembers Vietnam, I do.

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  • Pollack
    May 6, 2012 - 6:12AM

    @Peace: The taliban can hardly be called “helpless people”.

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  • Naeem Khan, Manhattan,KS.
    May 6, 2012 - 6:18AM

    @ ishtiaer hussain, why don’t you read history for a change. did you see any suicide bombings in Pakistan before the Americans invaded and occupied Afghanistan. Pukhtuns live on both side of the border and they are all cousins and will protect each other, it is as simple as that. It was not Afghans, Pakistanis or Iranians who attacked US( 9/11), it was their best Friends the Saudis, Egyptians, Jordanians and Yaminis, mind it they are all dictatorships and all of them are supported and propped up by the US. So quit blaming the Tribal people, they did not ask for all this but our dictator Mush who was also supported by the West created this problem for Pakistanis. With one telephone call from Washington DC, he succumbed and sold out the country. Tribal people has been faithful citizens of Pakistan for 60 plus years, it is a fact.

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  • Umer
    May 6, 2012 - 6:30AM

    Since US has stopped paying us dollars we have started to complain of drone attacks.

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  • Pk_paris
    May 6, 2012 - 6:56AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    Where are you staying now. Definately not in Pakistan. These are empty box talks I.e. can make only noise but when you open there is nothing inside.
    You need to understand reality, initially US was not, but now they are openly saying about drones. So there must be solid legal base otherwise Pakistan would have challenged in UN. But nothing is being done why? Pl don’t come back with crap that UN is all US pet and it is conspiracy against Pakistan. Think and then talk

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  • Love Pakistan
    May 6, 2012 - 7:55AM

    Good job. Keep it up, keep screwing these terrorists who are blowing schools and mosques.

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  • greg
    May 6, 2012 - 9:02AM

    @Hairaan:
    more and more terrorists?

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  • May 6, 2012 - 11:35AM

    American’s stance has appeared on.
    they are insisting and expressed their resolve regarding the drone attack,after this there there is no justification remained to advancing arguments before them.

    Now it is better for Pakistan to create new options acceptable to both the ally in war on terror.

    They would draw no attention on Pakistani screams,protest or objection,they love their interests in the region rather than friendship
    with Pakistan.

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  • May 6, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Under any circumstances mean what come it may,
    Pakistan presented a proposal which was best in
    nature,requested for supply of predator drones air
    craft but the same was turn down.
    It is clear that United States consider Pakistan
    not a dependable fried.

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  • May 6, 2012 - 11:56AM

    It is notable that
    United States is still not in mood to forget 9/11 incident,
    its revenge still thirsty
    State Depart want no one move forward and repeat the
    game played by some extremists at World Trade Center,
    The fact is that American are not interested in any other
    task,they are making sure the safety of the United States
    on any cost.

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  • Raj - USA
    May 6, 2012 - 7:49PM

    @Naeem Khan, Manhattan,KS.:
    You ask:
    “did you see any suicide bombings in Pakistan before the Americans invaded and occupied Afghanistan. “

    The theory that suicide bombings are a result of US entry in the region is totally flawed and lacks reasoning. It is true that there were no or not that many suicide bombings earlier. The reason is that at that time Pakistan was an exporter of terrorism. All terrorists had some connection to Pakistan, they frequently travelled to Pakistan, many stayed there, there were thousands of terrorist training camps, etc. These Pakistan created, Pakistan trained, Pakistan funded and Pakistan supported terrorists were carrying out terror activities outside Pakistan. Even 9/11 terrorists had financial connections with Pakistan. One group received some funds from Pakistan and they even remitted what was left over back to Pakistan before they went on their final mission. Khalid Sheikh was found in Pakistan and the mastermind OBL was also in Pakistan. Zawahiri is suspected to be in Pakistan.

    Even after US entered the region, terror activities were carried out in Europe and elsewhere, such as UK train bombing, Spain bombings, etc., All these terror activities were traced back to Pakistan. Now the situation has changed because others have become vigilant. Unable to export its toxic product of terror activities, Pakistan now has to live with its own creation of the this toxic product. They will consume Pakistan if Pakistan cannot destroy them Now the choice is, either Pakistan destroys these terrorists or they shall destroy Pakistan. If Pakistan shall not destroy, US and NATO shall do it.

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  • Skin Taj
    May 6, 2012 - 8:04PM

    I will protest against DRONES ………………..Once all TTP terrorist will be eliminated !!!!!!!!!!
    Pakistan ZINDABAD.

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  • Faisal
    May 6, 2012 - 8:27PM

    All the terrorist groups in FATA should not use their own women and children as human shields. It is easy to kill other innocent women and children in suicide bombings but when it comes to their own women and children, they start condemning it. No double standards please. Keep your women and children away from your hiding places. They will not be harmed, I can assure you.

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  • Skin Taj
    May 6, 2012 - 9:02PM

    If USA is right in saying that there are NO CIVILIAN CASUALITIES during these illegal drone attacks …Why do they not release videos of these attacks !!!!!!????
    I am sure with such high definition videos back in CIA offices where they control these drones and can tell that those being attacked and killed are terrorists they can show us those video clips to confirm that, are they militants or simply innocent PUBLIC !!!!!!!!!

    I am sure once everybody has seen that they are the militants…everybody in Pakistan and the World will back them up !!!!

    BUT IS THAT THE TRUTH ???????

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  • Kanwal
    May 7, 2012 - 5:56PM

    @Raj
    Its not a theory. If you please stop reading statements of politicians and start reading academics, you will realize this. I have asked this twice to you before i think. Its not a theory. The drones are creating an unrest that is not going to go away. Not in two generations’ life time anyway. Its absolutely illegal and unjust to kill anybody without a proper court trial. The drone attacks are setting an example which is soon going to start haunting USA itself. The sooner you guy understand this the better. YOU DONT FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE. AND THIS IS ONE OF THE FIRST LESSONS YOUR MOTHER GIVES TO YOU.

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  • Raj - USA
    May 7, 2012 - 10:33PM

    @Kanwal:

    “Its absolutely illegal and unjust to kill anybody without a proper court trial.”

    The problem is that there are no Judiciary and functioning courts in Pakistan.

    It is sad that innocents are sometimes killed but can you keep appeasing the terrorists ? And for how long ? Yes, I do listen to Academics like Hasan Nisar and adore him and subscribe to his views. He also does not support extra judicial killings but is very much against supporting terrorists also,

    I have also said earlier that I totally understand your point but and also feel sad for the innocents who are terrorized on a daily basis. At the same time I also feel that these terrorists should not be allowed to win even symbolically.

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