As promised earlier this week by Pakistani Senate leader Raza Rabbani, the Pakistani government has summoned US Ambassador Anne Patterson today to lodge a “strong protest” against the continued US drone strikes inside Pakistani territory. The government statement cautioned that the US strikes “undermine public support for the government’s counterterrorism policies.”
The most recent air strike came on Sunday, when a US drone killed at least 20 people in South Waziristan. Officials say a Taliban leader named Mohammad Omar (not, it would seem, the Mullah Mohammad Omar that ruled Afghanistan before the 2001 invasion) was among those killed in the strike.
US air strikes in North and South Waziristan have been a regular fixture in the past few months, and are regularly condemned by the Pakistani government. Pakistan has cautioned that the strikes violate their national sovereignty. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has insisted that the US has every right to launch attacks onto Pakistani soil to “protect our troops.”