The US has responded to accusations from Pakistan that a drone strike that killed Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud had destroyed the country's nascent peace process.
A state department official said talks with the Taliban were an internal matter for Pakistan.
The statement insisted Pakistan and the US had a "shared strategic interest in ending extremist violence".
It also said it could still not confirm that Mehsud had been killed on Friday.
Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador to protest over Friday's drone strike that killed Mehsud.
BBC News, Islamabad
Hakimullah Mehsud was killed a day before Pakistani officials say they were scheduled to send a three-member team to start peace negotiations with the Taliban.
Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan told a local TV news channel, Geo, that the drone strike was an attempt to "sabotage" Pakistan's peace talks with Taliban.
But many believe Mehsud's death will leave the field open for groups that are known to have publicly favoured a rapprochement with Pakistan.
One of these groups is headed by Khan Said Sajna, the successor of Waliur Rehman, a militant commander who favoured talks with Islamabad and once contested the leadership of the Pakistani Taliban. Rehman was killed in a drone strike in May.
What next for Pakistani Taliban?
The country's foreign minister, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, said the strike on the local Taliban leader "is not just the killing of one person, it's the death of all peace efforts."
Friday, August 16, 2013
The United States was reportedly able to target an alleged al-Qaeda operative named Adnan al-Qadhi for a drone strike after U.S. allies in Yemen convinced an eight-year-old boy to place a tracking chip in the pocket of the man he considered to be his surrogate father. Shortly after the child planted the device, a U.S. drone tracked and killed al-Qadhi with a missile. He was killed last November, less than 24 hours after President Barack Obama’s re-election. Gregory Johnsen writes about the case in his new article "Did an 8-Year-Old Spy for America?" published in The Atlantic.
By Sudarsan Raghavan,May 29, 2012
Aden, Yemen — Across the vast, rugged terrain of southern Yemen, an escalating campaign of U.S. drone strikes is stirring increasing sympathy for al-Qaeda-linked militants and driving tribesmen to join a network linked to terrorist plots against the United States.
After recent U.S. missile strikes, mostly from unmanned aircraft, the Yemeni government and the United States have reported that the attacks killed only suspected al-Qaeda members. But civilians have also died in the attacks, said tribal leaders, victims’ relatives and human rights activists.
“These attacks are making people say, ‘We believe now that al-Qaeda is on the right side,’ ” said businessman Salim al-Barakani, adding that his two brothers — one a teacher, the other a cellphone repairman — were killed in a U.S. strike in March.
Since January, as many as 21 missile attacks have targeted suspected al-Qaeda operatives in southern Yemen, reflecting a sharp shift in a secret war carried out by the CIA and the Joint Special Operations Command that had focused on Pakistan.
When tribal elders from the remote Pakistani region of North Waziristan travelled to Islamabad last week to protest against CIA drone strikes, a teenager called Tariq Khan was among them.
A BBC team caught him on camera, sitting near the front of a tribal assembly, or jirga, listening carefully.
Four days later the 16-year-old was dead - killed by one of the drones he was protesting against.
In his final days, Tariq was living in fear, according to Neil Williams from the British legal charity, Reprieve, who met him at the Jirga.
"He was really really petrified," said Mr Williams, "and so were his friends. He didn't want to go home because of the drones. They were all scared."
Tariq carried with him the identity card of his teenage cousin, Asmar Ullah, who was killed by a drone. On Monday he shared his fate.
Tariq's family say he was hit by two missiles as he was driving near Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.
The shy teenager, who was good with computers, was decapitated in the strike. His 12-year-old cousin Wahid was killed alongside him.
The boys were on their way to see a relative, according to Tariq's uncle, Noor Kalam, who we reached by phone.
He denied that Tariq had any link to militant groups. "We condemn this very strongly," he said. "He was just a normal boy who loved football."
The CIA's drone campaign is a covert war, conducted in remote terrain, where the facts are often in dispute.
The tribal belt is off limits to foreign journalists. Militants often seal off the locations where drone strikes take place. The truth can be buried with the dead.
After the missile strike on Monday, Pakistani officials said four suspected militants had been killed.
If the strike actually killed two young boys - as appears to be the case - it's unlikely anyone will ever be held to account.
Tariq Khan Tariq Khan's family insist that he had no militant connections (Photo: Neil Williams, Reprieve)
There are no confirmed death tolls but several independent organisations estimate that drones have killed more than 2,000 people since 2004. Most are suspected to be militants.
Many senior commanders from the Taliban and al-Qaeda are among the dead. But campaigners claim there have been hundreds of civilian victims, whose stories are seldom told.
A shy teenage boy called Saadullah is one of them. He survived a drone strike that killed three of his relatives, but he lost both legs, one eye and his hope for the future.
"I wanted to be a doctor," he told me, "but I can't walk to school anymore. When I see others going, I wish I could join them."
Like Tariq, Saadullah travelled to Islamabad for last week's jirga. Seated alongside him was Haji Zardullah, a white-bearded man who said he lost four nephews in a separate attack.
"None of these were harmful people," he said. "Two were still in school and one was in college."
Asghar Khan, a tribal elder in a cream turban, said three of his relatives paid with their lives for visiting a sick neighbour.
"My brother, my nephew and another relative were killed by a drone in 2008," he said. "They were sitting with this sick man when the attack took place. There were no Taliban."
Viewed from a drone, any adult male in the tribal areas can look like a target, according to Mirza Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who is taking on the CIA.
A drone aircraft of the kind used by the US military The use of drone missiles has soared
"A Taliban or non-Taliban would be dressed in the same way," he said. "Everyone has a beard, a turban and an AK-47 because every person carries a weapon in that area, so anyone could be target."
Mr Akbar is suing the CIA for compensation in the Islamabad High Court, and plans to file a Supreme Court action.
He claims the US is getting away with murder in North Waziristan.
It's a view shared by Reprieve, whose Director Clive Stafford Smith has been meeting drone victims in Pakistan.
"What's going on here, unfortunately, is murder," he said.
"There's a war going on in Afghanistan, but none here in Pakistan, so what the CIA is doing here is illegal."
The CIA would doubtless say otherwise, if it were prepared to discuss the drone programme, but US officials are usually silent on the issue.
In a rare public comment two years ago, the then director of the CIA, Leon Panetta, defended the use of drones.
"We have targeted those who are enemies of the United States," he said. " When we use it, it is very precise and it limits collateral damage."
But the damage is not limited enough, say opponents like Mr Stafford Smith, who is gathering evidence about civilian deaths. From a shopping bag he produced a jagged chunk of metal - a missile fragment - believed to have killed a child in Waziristan in August of last year.
Clive Stafford Smith, director of the British legal charity Reprieve, holding the fragment of a missile Campaigners like Clive Stafford Smith say drones are resulting in murder
"I have a three-year-old son myself, and the idea that this thing killed someone very much like my little Wilf really tugs at your heart strings," he said.
Mr Stafford Smith says drones are changing the nature of modern warfare.
"If you are trying to surrender and you put your hands up to a drone, what happens?" he asks.
"They just fire the missile, so there are all sorts of Geneva Conventions issues which are not being discussed."
Campaigners also warn that drone strikes are counter-productive, generating more radicalism and more hatred of the West. They say the drone strikes are a Taliban recruiting tool.
At Tariq Khan's funeral, many mourners spoke out against the US, according to his uncle Noor Kalam.
But Washington is unlikely to heed the anger here. Under President Barack Obama, the use of drone missiles has soared - there's an attack on average every four days.
Increasingly, these remote-controlled killers are Washington's weapon of choice.