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Pakistan rejects US drone strike campaign

PAKISTAN: Pakistan said Saturday it would never allow any expansion in the campaign of drone strikes by the United States on its territory.

The Washington Post reported Friday that the US was seeking to expand the areas inside Pakistan where Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) unmanned aircraft - used for surveillance and to launch missile strikes - could operate.

"As for the reported suggestion by the US to carry out drone attacks beyond our tribal areas, Pakistan's position is very clear - we would never allow this to happen," foreign ministry spokesman Abdul Basit told AFP.

"The Americans should rather revisit their drone attack policy and stop carrying out strikes in our tribal areas."

Washington has massively ramped up its drone campaign against militants in areas near the Afghan border over the past two months, and argues they are highly effective in the war against al-Qaeda and its Islamist allies. But the policy is deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public, who see military action on Pakistani soil as a breach of national sovereignty and say some attacks have killed innocent civilians.

AFP

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