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Terrorism & Security

US kills 6 suspected militants despite Pakistan's demand for end to drone attacks

The timing of the US drone attack, which reportedly killed six militants Wednesday in South Waziristan, is likely to strain an already fraught relationship with Pakistan.

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Mr. Davis, a CIA contractor working in the country under the guise of being a low-level US embassy employee, shot and killed two Pakistani men who he claimed were trying to rob him. Davis is believed to have been in the country to gather information on the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

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Pakistani officials said their demands on drones and US agents in the country were a direct result of the Davis case, reported The New York Times.

A Pakistani intelligence official told The Guardian that drone attacks have inflamed anti-US feeling in Pakistan so much that it is becoming difficult to justify the "war on terror" within its borders, which Pakistan began of its own volition in 2001.

"In the long term, it [the drone attacks] is completely counter-productive because it alienates the population and restricts our ability to shape our security environment," the official said, adding that Pakistan is now pushing back against US demands that they launch an offensive in North Waziristan.

"What do they [the US] want us to do? Declare war on our whole country?" the official said.

Although antidrone sentiment is on the rise, the attacks seem to be occurring at a much lower rate this year – the Los Angeles Times tallied 19 so far in 2011, compared with 117 last year.

The Los Angeles Times also reports that prior to the March 17 attack, Pakistan's military acknowledged the drones' effectiveness in combating the militants, saying that most of the people killed in the attacks were militants, not civilians.

Pakistan's recent demands are an attempt to see how much leverage they have with the US, Marvin Weinbaum, former Pakistan specialist for State Department intelligence, told the Monitor.

“Above all, what they’re annoyed about and motivated by is the sense that they don’t know what’s going on in their own country,” Mr. Weinbaum said. “If they’ve decided to play harder ball now, it’s because they feel they have some leverage to change a situation they don’t like.”

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