Updated 11/20 9:45 PM EST
The Pakistani government has summoned US Ambassador Anne Patterson to lodge a formal protest over yesterday’s US missile attack in Bannu District. The strike, which is reported to have killed six people, is just the latest in a long series of US strikes aimed at militants around the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.
There seems to be considerably more consternation from the Pakistani public about the latest attack in that it hit the North-West Frontier Province as opposed to the much more loosely controlled Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of North and South Waziristan, which are normally the site of US strikes. Bannu borders both FATA agencies, and is only about 10 miles from Miramshah, but is still somewhat farther from the Afghan border than most American strikes.
Pakistani militants in the area are also upset by the strike, and TTP spokesman Ahmadullah Ahmadi said his group would start “revenge attacks” across other districts if the drone strikes are repeated after November 20.
The Pakistani government often publicly condemns the US strikes, and has on prior occasions summoned the US ambassador over them. Still, earlier this week it was reported that there exists a “tacit agreement” between the two nations regarding the strikes, wherein the US would not admit to the attacks and the Pakistani government would publicly condemn but privately condone them. This subjects the latest Pakistani condemnation to more scrutiny than the previous ones, and may leave the public wondering whether the “protest” is authentic or just another in a series of scripted events done for our benefit.