The guidelines also said the government should seek an apology for “the condemnable and unprovoked” border attack by U.S. helicopters and fighter jets in November. At various times since November, the White House had considered making such an apology, but after militant attacks in Kabul on April 15 — blamed on the Pakistan-based Haqqani insurgent network — the United States ruled that out.
The resumption of the drone strikes — while not unexpected, given their efficiency and effectiveness — highlights a schism in the U.S. approach to Pakistan.
“When a duly elected democratic Parliament says three times not to do this, and the U.S. keeps doing it, it undermines democracy,” said a Pakistani government official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to preserve diplomatic relationships. “These drone strikes may kill terrorists, but the net loser is freedom and democracy.”
Prominent politicians predicted that the new drone strikes, the first inside Pakistan since March 30, would provoke a backlash against further negotiations on the supply lines and stir outcries that the United States has no regard for Pakistan’s sovereignty.
“There will be repercussions whether in the government or in the public or in the Parliament,” said Aftab Khan Sherpao, a National Assembly member who sat on the committee that drafted the guidelines. “In no case would we allow the NATO supplies now.”
Others saw the drone attacks as a provocation that undermined any notion that the United States had engaged in sincere, meaningful talks last week.
“The CIA could have opted not to go for a drone strike at such a crucial time, when senior U.S. officials are trying hard to iron out differences with Pakistan,” said Sheik Waqas Akram, a member of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s cabinet. “It shows that it has no regard for the Pakistani Parliament’s resolution.”
The target of Sunday’s attack was in Miran Shah, the largest town in North Waziristan and a base of operations for extremist groups including al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network. A senior U.S. official said intelligence had indicated that operatives there were “preparing explosives for use in attacks in Afghanistan, like the high-profile attacks in Kabul” on April 15.
The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the CIA’s covert drone program.
“Only individuals working directly on the explosives were killed or injured in this action, which we know with certainty helped protect Afghan and American lives,” the official said.
But Pakistan, in a statement late Sunday, called the attacks illegal and “violative of its territorial integrity and sovereignty.”
DeYoung reported from Washington. Special correspondents Shaiq Hussain in Islamabad and Haq Nawaz Khan in Peshawar contributed to this report.