After a recent spate of drone attacks by the US, killing as many as 31 people, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday said that the drone attacks were carried out near Pak-Afghan border and not inside Pakistani territory.
Talking to a leading English Daily, the foreign minister failed to ascertain the exact location of the attack and said that the Pak-Afghan border was not well defined, therefore, to pinpoint that which country was attacked was not possible.
The two preceding drone strikes were reported in Afghanistan’s Paktia province, bordering Pakistan’s Kurram Agency. No casualties have been reported from those strikes so far.
Khawaja Asif also boasted about the PML-N government’s success in the fight against terrorism, saying that the decrease in drone attacks, that were a daily occurrence in the country some years back, is a testament that there are no terrorist sanctuaries in the country anymore.
When asked about his statement about Russia’s rising influence on Taliban, Asif said that Pakistan’s influence on Taliban has decreased while that of other neighbouring countries of Afghanistan has increased. He, however, did not name any other country.
Praising the role of the army, the foreign minister also stated that the Canadian citizens, kidnapped by the terrorists were rescued by the Pakistan Army when they entered the country. “Our effectiveness against terrorists is much more than anyone in Afghanistan,” he added.
He also wondered as to why the US had not taken action earlier when they had intelligence about the kidnappers’ location in Afghanistan.
Two suspected US drone strikes on Tuesday killed 11 people on the mountainous Pak-Afghan border, following a strike a day earlier that killed 20, government and militant sources said, as Pakistan’s foreign minister urged the US to refrain from such attacks to pave the way for peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.
The attacks came days after a Canadian-American couple held hostage by the Taliban was freed from the area.
On Friday, US drones were seen hovering near where American Caitlan Coleman, her Canadian husband, Joshua Boyle, and their three children, all born in captivity, were freed, after having been kidnapped by the Haqqani network while backpacking in Afghanistan in 2012.