US to keep up attacks on al Qaeda in Pakistan: Panetta

Published: June 6, 2012
Leon Panetta acknowledges India, US had 'often deep' differences with Pakistan but needed to work to overcome them. PHOTO: REUTERS

Leon Panetta acknowledges India, US had 'often deep' differences with Pakistan but needed to work to overcome them. PHOTO: REUTERS

NEW DELHI: Pentagon chief Leon Panetta said Wednesday that the US would continue to attack al Qaeda in Pakistan despite complaints from Islamabad that the drone strikes violate its sovereignty.

“We have made it very clear that we are going to continue to defend ourselves,” Secretary of Defence Panetta said in India a day after the US announced the killing of al Qaeda’s number two Abu Yahya al-Libi.

“This is about our sovereignty as well,” Panetta added, arguing that al Qaeda militants who orchestrated the September 11 attacks on the United States were in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“The leadership of those who were involved in planning this attack are located in Pakistan, in the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas),” he said.

Panetta confirmed the strike on “another deputy leader” of the terror group, referring to al-Libi who once escaped from a US jail in Afghanistan and had escaped previous assassination attempts.

A trusted lieutenant of Osama bin Laden, Libi appeared in countless al Qaeda videos and was considered the chief architect of its global propaganda machine.

Pakistan has lodged a protest with Washington over a string of recent drone attacks on its northwestern tribal areas which it has branded as “unlawful, against international law and a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty.”

Pakistani-US relations went into free fall last year when a CIA contractor shot dead two Pakistanis, an American raid killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden, and US air strikes in November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Panetta acknowledged Wednesday that India and the United States had “often deep” differences with Pakistan but said New Delhi and Washington needed to work to overcome them.

“Pakistan is a complicated relationship for both of our countries but one that we must work to improve,” he said in a speech in New Delhi where he met the country’s leaders to discuss China and Afghanistan.

“India and the United States will need to continue to engage Pakistan, overcoming our respective – and often deep – differences with Pakistan to make all of South Asia peaceful and prosperous,” he added.


Panetta says the September 11 perpetrators are in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Do you agree?

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Reader Comments (44)

  • Let Me Think
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:39PM

    YOU mean a Joint Venture to Pakistan Mr.Leaon


  • Babloo
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:44PM

    India and USA should disengage completely and leave Pakistan alone. It will be good for India and USA. Let Pakistan deal with itself.


  • Aizaz
    Jun 6, 2012 - 4:57PM

    Pakistan must not let this opportunity for co-operation with India slip by. There are many skeptics and fear mongers on both sides but we cannot allow them to dictate to us, “the need of the hour”.


  • Aqeel
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:13PM

    Babloo, you are one of many ignorants who belive that way. What in the world do you think Pakistan will do if left alone??. We have to work with our neighbours, international communities to get technology and education for our poeple and for our country. We need to get rid of ignorance and grow in order to sustain.


  • True Muslim Paki
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:25PM

    Now, there will be a burst of unsolicited indian comments & ET Moderator will publish them gleefully..


  • antanu g
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Thats what BABLOO does not want….a progressive Pakistan is not acceptable to some.They would rather see it gone down.Cant you read between the lines how biased most of Indians are?


  • Gilgiti-No voting right but Proud Pakistani
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:36PM

    US first deal with its own problems then give instruction to others. we are fooling them and now they are looking Indian help.


  • Sinclair
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:43PM

    @antanu g

    Many people who are indians just for opportunity do get concerned a lot about Pakistan. Some of us are more realistic. Why call us biased? We are just thinking in our national interest.


  • Z.Khan
    Jun 6, 2012 - 5:54PM

    All have to keep in mind Pakistani forces probably lack the effective capability to intercept drone attacks. These are launched from thousands of meters and once missile is fired it can not be stopped. The claim that if allowed we can stop it is more of a political statement. Communication jamming further makes it complicated to have any type of interception. Active participation of Pakistan in SCO, where Russian and Chinese are embracing Iranian President with open heart is further frustrating the US and NATO. As such they are determined to pressurize Pakistan as much they can. Might is always right so as long US and NATO are mightier, Pakistan has just to protest the drone attacks and nothing else.


  • Alim
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:28PM

    @antanu g:

    Well Babloo’s is one of the ways of dealing with the situation. can not call it ignorant… to many it makes sense given the situation we are in.


  • Cautious
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:46PM

    It’s a message that has been consistent over the years — maybe it’s time for Pakistan to start listening.


  • dpd
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:51PM

    The Drones uses reomote control technology. With the amount of money spent on research and developement of nuclear technology, surely a small portion can be spent on developing a jamming deivce for the drones. I gut feeling tells ME that the PPP, although making all the noises against the drones are actually in favour of them!!!!


  • John P
    Jun 6, 2012 - 6:56PM

    @True Muslim Paki: Why are you Pakistanis so defensive when it comes to Taliban or Al-Qaeda? The reason they are there in your country is because your authorities made some bad choices.


  • Iftekhar
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:35PM

    It is the collective fault of all Pakistanis to have voted for such a corrupt government . Further Pakistan must eliminate with all its means the terrorists like Taliban, Al qaida,LET, JEM etc who are heritics and enemy of Muslims and whole of mankind. Surely then Pakistan will prosper and gain respect worldwideRecommend

  • Shahid
    Jun 6, 2012 - 7:43PM

    Usa should continue Drone attacks. There is no better way to elimintate the terrorists. It should only be stopped if Pakistan army launches military operation in those areas.


  • Jun 6, 2012 - 8:19PM

    The Pakistan border with Afghanistan is no man’s land. Why we weep about our sovereignty when our great army cannot even enter there.


  • True Muslim Paki
    Jun 6, 2012 - 8:53PM

    @John P:

    Pakistan is a soveriegn country and it`ll deal with any individual/groups as it feels fit keeping in view of its national interests. Every country has its national interests. Did you forget LTTE, Mukhtibahini that India has supported? Did you see the movie Rambo II, in which Rambo (An American) fights Soviets along with Taliban? The So called Heroes became villains in such a small time after 9/11?
    Now, you wont like the truth..

    & Dear Moderator, Please wake up. You actually published my (Pakistani) comment here.


  • Nighat
    Jun 6, 2012 - 9:00PM

    @John P:
    We are not defensive about them. In fact they were created by the American’s ideological war in the Hindukush! Hillary Clinton clearly stated this fact that Wahabi Brand of Islam was welcomed in Madrasas for Freedom Fighters as long as they fought the Russians. When the war was over these very Freedom Fighters mutated into Talibans

    So the Americans should clean up their mess which they create worldwide!


  • vigilant
    Jun 6, 2012 - 9:09PM

    @John P:
    You are so right……First and most worst choice was to be part of Anti-Soviet campaign in Afghanistan financed and lead by America with help of gulf countries and their petro-dollars……for this mistake we have paid such a big price


  • Upset Paki
    Jun 6, 2012 - 9:26PM

    So whats new in this? Even if he doesnt say US would still continue. We have incompetent and impatient rulers who start beating up each other without respecting the public mandate and totally act like illiterate barbarians like in the recent budget. How can one expect a positive outcome from the other end when total dirt is on our end.

    Our leaders are great at bashing each other.They are not serious about anything even the safety of this country. And our public is also not bothered and can fall for laptops and other silly schemes and vote for these illiterate barbarians.


  • Saeed
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:11PM

    I am not at all surprised by Panetta’s statement. If we keep providing them reasons to attack, then they won’t stop…We are responsible for this not them!


  • Cautious
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:13PM

    @Nighat &vigilant. So you think that the USA providing weapons and training to militants 25 years ago give you a “free pass” to provide them sanctuary and look the other way while they attack your neighbors? While it’s popular for Pakistani’s to spread the myth that America forced you into the Afghan/Soviet conflict it’s pure nonsense. Afghanistan was a necessary conquest for the Soviets ultimate goal of a warm water port – which happened to be in Balochistan. The USA provided weapons, money and training — you and the Saudi’s provided the militants or did you think a bunch of white Christians were invited into your Mosque to spout jihad? Recommend

  • Liberal
    Jun 6, 2012 - 10:26PM

    We need to finish terrorists by any means.


  • Dark Knight
    Jun 6, 2012 - 11:08PM

    @True Muslim Paki: Oh yes, India “supported” LTTE that is why they blew Rajiv Gandhi away since it was their way to say Thanks……do I need to say more or you want to go back to your basics ?


  • Dark Knight
    Jun 6, 2012 - 11:19PM

    @Nighat: What made you guys send your own kids to get radicalized for America’s war against Russia ???? Easy to blame America for funding jihadist during Afghan war. But Zia U Haq quite gleefully opened up Pakistani madrassas to systematically brainwash young people to become hardcore jihadist and extremist. 1970s was really not too good year for Pakistan. After loosing Bangladesh and with poor economy, Zia saw a break in USA promising unlimited fundings if it help them “logistically” to fight against Russia. For USA it was a personal war against Russia….what was Pakistani’s interest in letting theri children get radicalized and send to Afghanistan to die ? Free mullah speech and Biryani ??? Thats it ????…………Once again, I humbly request my Pakistani brethren, learn from your mistakes rather than blaming others. You guys forever seem to blame anyone and everyone for the terrorism which is deeply rooted in your social system.


  • Jun 7, 2012 - 12:03AM

    There are always challenges in relationships. Our relationship with Pakistan is going through some challenges, but that does not mean we should give up. We all know that Pakistan is an important country in the region, and it cannot be just left alone to fight the battle that terrorists have waged on its soil. The United States will continue to work with Pakistan to address and resolve our differences. No one will disagree that together we have achieved much in our war on terror. We have killed and arrested many known terrorists, and together we need to continue to neutralize the few who are hiding in the northern mountainous region of Pakistan. A stable and prosperous Pakistan is in everyone’s interest, and peace will only prevail if Pakistan is able to defeat terrorism that has made its home on the Pakistani soil.

    Capt. Joseph Kreidel
    DET-United States Central Command


  • Socrates
    Jun 7, 2012 - 12:14AM

    I think it is the best way to get rid of the extremists. Why should Pakistani soldiers die when American Drones can do the job.
    I would request USA to increase the Drone Strikes !!


  • Wonderful
    Jun 7, 2012 - 12:31AM

    @Dark Knight:


  • Zaikam
    Jun 7, 2012 - 12:40AM

    So now what would be wrong if Pakistan does proxy war in its own defense?


  • True Muslim Paki
    Jun 7, 2012 - 12:50AM

    @Dark knight: Now that you have accepted India supported groups, why do you guys come & crib here? You did what you did & we do what we have to in our national interest.

    Now stop giving lessons to us, my dear dark knight, & vanish into darkness that you seem to be fond off.


  • Butt
    Jun 7, 2012 - 1:19AM

    Read headline as: US to keep up attacks on Pakistan till it gets on its knees and begs for mercy: Panetta
    By AFP


  • LionOfPunjab
    Jun 7, 2012 - 1:31AM

    We strongly protest the US violation of our sovereignty, again! Sam Uncle ji, dont you listen?


  • Nas
    Jun 7, 2012 - 1:47AM

    @US CENTCOM: Captain Joseph Kreidel – please can you extend drone strikes to hit extremist rallies of banned outfits which often have ministers attending them. It is a joke that any govt official would attend such a rally and must be stopped at all cost


  • kaalchakra
    Jun 7, 2012 - 1:56AM

    Dark Knight

    Pakistan had no choice but to join the US against Russia. Russians had prepared a full plan to march into Pakistan and take over its ports.


  • Babloo
    Jun 7, 2012 - 4:17AM

    Please read my advise. Stay vigilant , if you think Pakistan is on your side then I would like to sell you some prime real estate on moon. I will give you a good deal.


  • kakarie
    Jun 7, 2012 - 4:42AM

    @US CENTCOM,,,,Good job with the drones & some times Navy Seals. The only way to rescue Pakistan is to use these drones where ever needed in Pakistan not only Northern Areas. So please be generious in its use though it is costing a bit. But please train your target to avoid the civilian casualties which is at minimum anyway. We do not trust Pakistan Army & Airforce, as their blind artilery & bombing (12000 bombs, 500 sorties) has only killed innocent Pashtuns not a single terrorist that we know. Most of the tribal people think of Mulla & Military one the same anyway. So please send more Ababeels but dont forget the Haqani Network, this is the most merderous. Thanks. If the ET would print thanks to them as well.


  • Wonderful
    Jun 7, 2012 - 7:49AM

    In 2012 you have no choice but asking the Russians to come to Pakistan.


  • MilesToGo
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:24AM

    If Pakistani army goes after the militants then drones will be unnecessary.


  • Drone_Strike
    Jun 7, 2012 - 8:33AM

    @True Muslim Paki:
    Stop misrepresenting facts and Pakistan. Harboring terrorists is NOT in Pakistan’s interest. Have some mercy on the poor souls that have died in the many suicide attacks by these monsters which you so vehemently defend in the name of “national interest”. Killing our own people …?? this is not national interest, this is delusion and dheetpan. So what if US fought a war in Afghanistan and created these monsters?? Did we not get $$$ for that?? Did we not fight it as Islamic Jihad and now we are blaming the US!! hypocrites and this also does not mean we keep on raising these monsters which have raked havoc on us. Stop defending these terrorists.


  • amar
    Jun 7, 2012 - 9:31AM

    pakistan is not doing enough to wipe out terrorism from their soil. they should understand that the whole world is asking them to do something tangible. but they are simply ignoring.. the nation has become aggressive, innocent people are dying, economy is dwindling .. yet the leaders are ignoring.


  • Jun 7, 2012 - 9:58AM

    who stops you buddy?


  • j. von hettlingen
    Jun 7, 2012 - 1:28PM

    Pakistan is in turlulent times. Nevertheless it’s also the moment for the country to take a leap forward. It’s doubtful if the civilan government has the courage to go against grain and fall out with its people.


  • OG
    Jun 7, 2012 - 2:59PM

    “This is about our sovereignty as well,” Panetta added, arguing that al Qaeda militants who orchestrated the September 11 attacks on the United States were in Pakistan’s tribal areas”

    wait so why did the U.S attack Afghanistan? If I remember correctly, Afghanistan was a safe haven for Al-Qaeeda right? the reason why U.S invaded? and all that fighting in Tora Bora and Bin Ladin escaping into pakistan? wait so how did he escape into pakistan if he and the al qaeeda leadership was planning these attacks from FATA? so who did the U.S fought in Tora Bora? one of his doubles? Nothing really makes sense anymore! this whole war on terror is crap i tell ya!


  • Tony Singh
    Jun 8, 2012 - 12:43PM

    Damn if you do damn if you don’t!


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