Pakistan Says U.S. Should Communicate Before Airstrikes

Associated Press
Monday, January 23, 2006

Pakistan's prime minister yesterday condemned an American airstrike on a remote Pakistani village, saying such attacks should be cleared with Islamabad first.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said no understanding exists between U.S. and Pakistani officials that allows American military forces to attack alleged terrorists in Pakistan without first consulting the government.

"The understanding is that we will work together," Aziz said. "We will work in collaboration with each other."

Aziz said Pakistani officials were given no notice before the Jan. 13 attack that killed at least 13. The attack was apparently aimed at al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman Zawahiri, who was not there.

Pakistan, Aziz said, "has regretted and condemned the incident and said that such incidents should not reoccur. We need to work together. There is no difference in the objectives of the two countries, so there is no reason why we shouldn't communicate."

Pakistan is a key U.S. ally, but it has strongly protested the airstrike, which has angered many in the Muslim nation of 150 million and sparked friction between Islamabad and Washington.

Aziz is to meet this week with President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

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