As Nawaz pushes on drones, Hagel pushes back on Nato supplies

Published: December 9, 2013
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US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel shakes hands with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday. PHOTO: PID

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel shakes hands with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday. PHOTO: PID

US Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel shakes hands with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad on Monday. PHOTO: PID A screengrab showing Defence Minister Khawaja Asif with Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel. Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel. PHOTO: REUTERS

KABUL: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday called for an end to US drone campaign in Pakistan during a meeting with Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel, Express News reported.

Hagel arrived in Islamabad today for talks as Washington seeks to defuse tensions over controversial US drone strikes and Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan.

Nawaz said peaceful Pakistan is crucial for peace in the entire region and that drone strikes should be stopped to ensure this as well as better relationship between Pakistan and the US.

“Drone strikes have a negative impact on Pakistan’s efforts against extremism,” he stressed.

In the first visit by a US defence secretary in nearly four years, Hagel flew from Kabul to Islamabad and met Prime Minister Nawaz and other top officials, including the country’s new army chief.

Ties between Washington and Islamabad have been seriously strained over US drone strikes in the country’s tribal belt as well as alleged militants’ sanctuaries inside Pakistan.

“Secretary Hagel met with Prime Minister Nawaz on his visit to Washington earlier this year and looks forward to continuing candid and productive conversations,” Pentagon spokesperson Carl Woog told reporters on Sunday.

President Barack Obama has defended the drone strikes as an effective, lawful tool used with restraint to target suspected al Qaeda militants. But human rights groups and politicians in Pakistan say the missile attacks have killed innocent civilians and must stop.

Hagel warns over Nato supply closure

Hagel warned Sharif that US lawmakers could withhold military assistance if Islamabad failed to ensure security for the key supply route.

“There will be those home back in Congress… who will seize upon this issue if it continues to be a concern,” a defence official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told reporters after Hagel’s talks with the prime minister.

The visit came as Hagel’s deputies withdrew Sunday’s statement that NATO shipments out of Afghanistan through Pakistan would resume due to the end of anti-drone protests.

In recent weeks activists opposed to the drone raids forcibly searched trucks in northwest Pakistan in a campaign to disrupt NATO supply routes through the Torkham gate border crossing.

The club-wielding protesters have prompted US officials to halt the shipments to protect the truck drivers.

Contractors were still concerned at the protests and the suspension had not been lifted, officials travelling with Hagel said.

Torkham gate is the main overland route used by the Americans and NATO to withdraw military hardware from Afghanistan as part of the troop pullout set to wrap up by the end of 2014.

The US provides major defence aid to Pakistan, including “coalition support funds” in which Washington reimburses Islamabad for the cost of counter-terrorism operations.

“The secretary made the point that we need to demonstrate the continued flow of goods in order to be able to continue fulfilling their reimbursements,” the defence official said.

Hagel visited Pakistan on Monday “in recognition of the tremendous support that Pakistan has provided in the war on terror”, a senior US defence official told reporters.

The defence secretary wanted to affirm continued US military assistance, the official said.

“There is some friction in the relationship” and Hagel wished to tackle that “head on”, he added.

Meeting with new COAS

As part of his brief visit to Islamabad, Hagel met with newly appointed army chief General Raheel Sharif in a bid to establish a constructive dialogue.

“Issues concerning (the) defence relationship, Pak-US bilateral ties and regional stability came under discussion,” the Pakistan military said after Hagel met the army chief.

The position holds special significance in Pakistan and US officials are anxious to forge a constructive dialogue with a figure expected to be at the centre of decision making on sensitive security questions.

The veteran infantry commander last month succeeded General Ashfaq Kayani, who is retiring after six years at the helm.

Hagel’s spokesperson said the defence secretary looked forward to discussing with his counterparts “the United States and Pakistan’s common interest in a stable Afghanistan.”

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Reader Comments (35)

  • Aschraful Makhlooq
    Dec 9, 2013 - 11:33AM

    If Chuck Hagel assures Pakistan to stop or at least decrease drones attacks (there are very minor chances even may be impossible) and talks on reopening the suspended NATO’s supply routes by PTI then this the whole credit will go to only Imran Khan who stopped NATO’s supply for making successful peace talks with TTP….

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  • Fahad
    Dec 9, 2013 - 1:04PM

    @Aschraful Makhlooq:
    If Nawaz would have taken this step long ago. Then the complete credit would have gone to him. But he does not have the guts to face US. Maybe US has some of his secrets that has scared Nawaz.Recommend

  • sa
    Dec 9, 2013 - 1:46PM

    is this matter of credit only ? PTI should slove the problems of KPK also

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  • polpot
    Dec 9, 2013 - 2:20PM

    First NS asks Obama and then to Hegel for an end to drone strikes
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I think he doesnt know who reports to who.

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  • Last Word
    Dec 9, 2013 - 2:57PM

    Just wait for the US Defence Secretary to reach back, there will be another drone attack for sure.

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  • Rex Minor
    Dec 9, 2013 - 3:08PM

    @polpot
    Nawaz Sharif would be more successful if he was to ask the driver of Chuck Hagel for moritorium on Drones. Chuck Hagel is not in Pakistan to entertain the Prime Minister’s requests but to ask for more cooperation and assistance from Pakistan military for disengagement from Afghanistan.

    Rex Minor

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  • Zulfiqar
    Dec 9, 2013 - 3:51PM

    The same old statement, NS talked to obama about ending drones as well, what happened? We all know, these corrupt political mafias cannot do anything.

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  • Khalid
    Dec 9, 2013 - 3:51PM

    He must have something else…lies aft lies. Even worst than Raja Pervaiz Ashraf…cant talk, doesnt ve personality…look like a shrek but aft all we pakistanis deserve such PM

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  • salman
    Dec 9, 2013 - 3:52PM

    Not the first time nawaz has “asked” this. Why doesn’t he have the courage to do something about it? If drone strikes are stopped, its going to be fun watching the pmln reps trying ( and failing) to give credit to nawaz on various talk shows!

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  • Ali S
    Dec 9, 2013 - 4:30PM

    @Aschraful Makhlooq:

    Easy for you to say. The NATO routes inject $30 million dollars a month into KPK’s already crippled economy. IK has absolutely no place in a government if he thinks economic suicide is okay for the sake of ‘ghairat’ – a man like that deserves neither ‘ghairat’ nor prosperity.

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  • Anonymus
    Dec 9, 2013 - 4:58PM

    Anyone has an idea why most of the Pakistani politicians wear suits whereas Indian politicians wear white Khadi/linen Kurtas. Not that it makes them superior or inferior neither makes them less corrupt. But I was a bit curious.
    …Indian.

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  • Aakashvaani
    Dec 9, 2013 - 5:08PM

    The whole world calls-on/persuades/asks/requests/pleads Pakistan to stop nurturing terrorists or at least stop exporting terrorism. Has it helped?

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  • expaki
    Dec 9, 2013 - 5:08PM

    @Last Word: ” Just wait for the US Defence Secretary to reach back, there will be another drone attack for sure” In Punjabi we say ” In your mouth Ghee SHAKAR”

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  • salman
    Dec 9, 2013 - 5:14PM

    @Ali S:
    ..and if drone stops, and if there is a peace agreement, do you think kpk and pakistan can attract foreign investment of more than $30m per month? Sometimes its worth looking at the big picture or taking a long term view.

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  • Zulfiqar Baig
    Dec 9, 2013 - 5:19PM

    Hats off to Imran Khan. We expect with continuous blockade of NATO supply by PTI and its allies, one day drone attacks will be stopped. Drone attacks are like serial killer.

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  • A-No.1
    Dec 9, 2013 - 6:13PM

    @Anonymus:
    The answer is the Indian politician has to blend with their electorate, a vast majority of whom do not wear western attire. On the other hand, vast majority of Pakistani politicians (with feudal links/mindsers) have an inferiority complex and behave as brown sahibs, irrespective of the fact that their electorate wears local attire.

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  • fawad
    Dec 9, 2013 - 6:14PM

    This is new. Nawaz Sharif meeting NATO chief and having guts to complain too.

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  • Brookside
    Dec 9, 2013 - 7:29PM

    @Anonymus: Pakistani politicians likes to identify themselves with suit wearing Jinnah and Indian politicians tries to emulate Gandhi by wearing Khadi . 99% of Pakistanis and Indians can’t see beyond dress and get fooled again and again .

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  • Larry
    Dec 9, 2013 - 8:00PM

    We should be thankful for drones otherwise Pakistan would be taken over by the Taliban.

    Is this what Pakistan wants?

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  • scotchpak
    Dec 9, 2013 - 8:12PM

    American assurances are worthless so there is really nothing to negotiate. Pakistani assurance are equally worthless so that leaves Imran Khan the Don Quixote’s of KP.

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  • Zarish
    Dec 9, 2013 - 9:09PM

    It was Imran Khan’s effort not PML N’s stop portraying wrong stuff

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  • Anonymous
    Dec 9, 2013 - 9:15PM

    Many thanks A-No.1 and Brookside for clarifying that. It gives me some perspective. Wish the politicians also read these comments and learn.
    ….Indian

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  • Dec 9, 2013 - 9:20PM

    It is important to note that Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, visited Pakistan to meet with Pakistani leadership and hear their concerns. His visit came after almost four years when secretary Gates had visited Pakistan in early 2010. Secretary Hagel discussed issues concerning defense relationship, Pak-US bilateral ties and regional stability. He recognizes the tremendous support that Pakistan has provided in the war of terror and wishes to deepen the defense partnership between the two countries. We understand that there are some frictions and challenges in the relationship but Secretary Hagel wished to tackle that ‘head on’, said a senior officer travelling with the secretary. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of working together to beat terrorism in the region. Can anyone deny that peace is the ultimate desire of all parties concern even a common person is wishing for that?

    Abdul Quddus
    DET- United States Central Command

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  • naeem khan Manhattan,Ks
    Dec 9, 2013 - 9:25PM

    @Anonymus:
    Hey, they could afford all these Paris stitched suits with their corrupted millions and here is the answer to your inquiry.

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  • LOL
    Dec 9, 2013 - 10:04PM

    Atleast Benazir’s photos are off from everywhere now! Recommend

  • PTI
    Dec 9, 2013 - 10:44PM

    All to my interest is ‘Hagel warned Sharif’. This is what IK has been saying for long. The countries who beg never gets respect from anyone. They get warnings and threats. Wake up people of Pakistan!Recommend

  • csmann
    Dec 9, 2013 - 11:14PM

    Now Us has warned Pakistan, NATO has warned Pakistan about its international commitments .It won’t be just drones anymore.Recommend

  • Tariq
    Dec 9, 2013 - 11:16PM

    Mr. Hagel warnings and threat is only matter of concern to those who are direct beneficiary of their bribes and AID. Mr. Hagel perfectly knows that Pakistanis dam care what they say or do.Recommend

  • Khan
    Dec 9, 2013 - 11:27PM

    Thank you america, we are a nation for sale. Please buy us and take us to your slavery. Recommend

  • rkfrom ny
    Dec 9, 2013 - 11:37PM

    ..US can easily use Iran to send supplies to troops in afghansitan…not only will drones continue but the funding from US can stop for pakistan !!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • unbelievable
    Dec 10, 2013 - 12:03AM

    I suspect Hagel’s meeting with Sharif was a nice photo op – his real purpose is to meet the new Military top. If anyone knows who actually runs foreign policy it’s the American’s.Recommend

  • polpot
    Dec 10, 2013 - 12:07AM

    Missing in ET Coverage
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    “A statement from the U.S. embassy, Islamabad said that during his meeting with Mr. Sharif, Mr. Hagel reviewed shared concerns regarding the activities of terrorist groups, including the Haqqani network, on Pakistani territory.”

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  • Sexton Blake
    Dec 10, 2013 - 2:11AM

    Dear Mr. Hagel,
    The solution is quite simple. Remove the US/NATO terrorists.

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  • Yoda
    Dec 10, 2013 - 2:18AM

    @rkfromny

    Iran will never give US supply line. US is called ‘Great Satan’ by Khamenei.

    What world are you living in?

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  • Yoda
    Dec 10, 2013 - 2:21AM

    @rkfromNY

    LMAO. Iran shot down a US drone. You think Khamenei wants to give US supplies.

    Iran wants US out

    Recommend

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