Can US and Pakistan mend differences over UAV strikes?

Efforts by the United States and Pakistan to mend their troubled diplomatic relationship will center largely on what the two nations decide to do regarding the aggressive deployment by U.S. military and intelligence operations of unmanned aerial vehicles to target Al Qaeda commanders and also combat cross-border infiltration into Afghanistan by Taliban forces situated in northwestern Pakistan, reports the New York Times.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will convene a special meeting of his nation's parliament March 20 in an effort to improve his government's strained relationship with the U.S., which deteriorated substantially following an American air strike in November 2011 that killed 24 Pakistani troops on the Afghanistan border. Since that time, Pakistan has refused to allow the transport of supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan through its territory.

Initial signs indicate that the Pakistani parliamentary debate over U.S.-Pakistan relations will include strident calls for an end to UAV strikes by U.S. forces, the article said. However, U.S. officials have said an end to UAV missions in northwestern Pakistan, which is a central part of the U.S. strategy to counter Al Qaeda and the Taliban in southwestern Asia, is not an option that the United States will consider.

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