Tensions mounting: US senator warns of unilateral strikes

Hina Rabbani Khar in combative mood with comments critical of US.


September 30, 2011

ISLAMABAD/WASHINGTON:


The diplomatic pendulum that is recent Pakistan-US relations continued to swing, with further comments from US Senator Lindsey Graham and Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Thursday.


Lindsey, an influential Republican voice on foreign policy, said that Congressional support for expanding US military action in Pakistan is growing.

Graham said in an interview that US lawmakers might support military options beyond drone strikes that have been going on for years inside Pakistani territory.

Those options may include using US bomber planes within Pakistan.

“I would say when it comes to defending American troops, you don’t want to limit yourself,” Graham said.

“This is not a boots-on-the-ground engagement — I’m not talking about that, but we have a lot of assets beyond drones.”

Graham was not completely combative in tone. He added that in “a perfect world’ Afghan, Pakistani, US and NATO forces would work together on both sides of the border to deny safe havens to terrorist organisations.

Khar terms Mullen’s remarks counterproductive

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said that Admiral Mike Mullen’s statements against Pakistan have actually strengthened militants.

In an interview to an American radio station, the foreign minister also said the US was not convinced that Pakistan was its partner in the war on terror.  (With input from wires.)

Published in The Express Tribune, September 30th, 2011.

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