John Kerry in Pakistan to talk drone strikes, Afghanistan, extremism


US Secretary of State John Kerry flies out of Iraq on March 24, 2013. Kerry arrived in Afghanistan the following day for talks with President Hamid Karzai.


Jason Reed

US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Pakistan Wednesday to discuss American drone strikes and the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

Kerry will meet Pakistan's civilian and military leaders with the aim of easing tensions over the strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas.

He will also meet with recently elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has opposed the strikes, calling them a breach of the country's sovereignty.

Ahead of the meetings, the Pakistan Foreign Office's spokesperson Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, said, "on drone strikes, this government has come out very clearly."

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He added: "The prime minister himself has articulated that policy that drones violate our sovereignty and territorial integrity, they are counter-productive, they give rise to militancy and to anti-American feelings."

Drone strikes have killed hundreds of civilians in Pakistan, though estimates of the death toll vary greatly.

It is believed that Pakistan was aware of civilian casualties due to the strikes. The strikes themselves have decreased since their peak in 2010.

Talks with the Taliban will also be discussed as Kerry hopes that Pakistan will bring the militant group back to the negotiating table.

Kerry's trip to Islamabad was not discussed ahead of time due to security concerns.