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In brief: Sharif insists U.S. stop drone strikes

Sun., June 9, 2013

Islamabad – Just days after taking power, Pakistan’s new government summoned a top U.S. envoy Saturday to lodge a protest over a U.S. drone strike, suggesting that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s team fully intends to make good on its promise to aggressively push for an end to such strikes.

Friday night’s drone strike near the Afghan border, which was said to have killed seven militants, came two days after Sharif was sworn in as premier and the same day his Cabinet members took their oaths.

Sharif, who wants to pursue peace talks with militants threatening his country, has insisted the U.S. stop the drone strikes, saying they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty and are counterproductive because they often kill innocent civilians and stoke anti-U.S. sentiment in this nation of 180 million.

Sharif adviser Tariq Fatemi, acting on the premier’s instructions, summoned U.S. Embassy Charge D’Affaires Richard Hoagland to the Foreign Office on Saturday to complain about the latest drone strike.

Americans killed during insider attack

Kabul, Afghanistan – A man wearing an Afghan army uniform opened fire on U.S. soldiers and personnel in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing two American servicemen and an American civilian.

It was the latest in a string of so-called insider attacks in which Afghan soldiers or police turn their weapons on U.S.-led coalition forces.

The shooting occurred at an Afghan army base in Paktika province, a volatile region along the Pakistani border.

Ankara, Turkey – Police in Ankara fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse thousands of people protesting near government buildings on Saturday, as Turkey’s biggest wave of anti-government protests in decades entered its second week with no signs of waning.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s governing party, meanwhile, rejected calls for early elections and dismissed the protests as an attempt by the opposition to topple the government.

The protests, sparked by outrage over a violent police action to oust an environmental protest in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on May 31, and which have spread to dozens of cities across Turkey, are the first serious challenge to Erdogan’s leadership.


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