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Terrorism & Security

U.S. military strike in Pakistan kills Al Qaeda weapons expert

The attack has raised concerns in Pakistan about the United States' increased willingness to take unilateral action in the war on terror.

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Last week, The New York Times also reported that many in Pakistan fear that the Predator drone attacks are a prelude to a large, unilateral attack.

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Strong suggestions by the United States that it could resort to unilateral intervention against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan are generating increasing anxiety in the Pakistani press and among government officials, who warn that such an action could backfire.
Over the last week, the Pakistani press has been filled with commentaries warning that American attacks without Pakistan's permission would further inflame anti-American sentiment, drive more people into the camp of the militants and fatally undermine the already fragile civilian government. Privately, one senior government official said American strikes would produce "chaos."

During his visit to the White House yesterday, Mr. Gilani is said to have reassured Bush that Pakistan is willing to continue the fights against extremists, The Washington Post reports.

During meetings between the two leaders, Gilani secured a pledge from Bush to respect Pakistan's sovereignty, in exchange for promises from Islamabad to increase efforts against insurgents.

But the Post adds that:

Later, in an interview with CNN Gilani was asked whether the missile strike was a violation of Pakistani sovereignty. "Certainly," he said, adding, "There should be more cooperation on the intelligence side, so that when there is a credible and actionable information given to us, we will hit ourselves."

The Christian Science Monitor reported on Friday that the outcome of Gilani's visit would be critical.

The visit by Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani to the White House Monday will set the course of what will be one of the United States' most critical and complex bilateral relationships in the coming years.
But Mr. Gilani's visit also has an aura of urgency in Washington – a sense that Pakistan and its relationship with the US cannot simply coast through the final six months of the Bush presidency. The prime minister's hold on power since the February elections that swept him into office is fragile, and deteriorating conditions in Afghanistan are focusing increased attention on the Pakistan factor in the war there.

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