328 words - February 27, 2013 | © DiploNews, all rights reserved.
Terrorism is a common threat to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States. A divide between them seems, however, to gain importance as regards how terrorist networks should be eradicated. Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama agreed the necessity of drone strikes during the presidential elections in November 2012, and a reporter asked a Pakistani Spokesman whether and in what extent this consensus affects Pakistan's national security and sovereignty.
"The drones are illegal, counterproductive and a violation of our territorial integrity and they are in contravention of international law," the Spokesman clearly stated. The issue obtained much greater publicity when on February 21 the Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari stressed the need to find a way out of drone attacks' policy. "These attacks are counterproductive and cause great damage at popular level," Mr Zardari said while meeting with US Senate Foreign Relations Committee's Chairman Senator Robert Menendez.
Three days later, additional criticism came from his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai who demanded that the NATO mission in Afghanistan (ISAF) "stops all its special force operations in Maidan Wardak province." Mr Karzai also assigned his Ministry of Defense "to make sure all US Special Forces are out (…) within two weeks." His direct order which sounded like a reminder of Afghanistan's sovereignty was given after alleged US Special Operators stationed in Wardak province were accused of "harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people."
The US government rejected such claims, but President Karzai's determination has not weakened so far. "Any military presence any country may be seeking to retain under the international coalition after 2014 may be allowed only after Afghan government's formal agreement and discretion, to be achieved bilaterally," added a communiqué issued by Afghanistan's National Security Council. While NATO discusses post-2014 strategy, it seems Pakistan and Afghanistan toughened their stances. Post-2014 will not only be military, it will be highly political as well.
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