Nawaz, Kerry discuss situation after Mehsud’s killing by phone

Eurasia News

ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday called Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and discussed the emerging situation in the aftermath of Pakistani Taliban Chief Hakimullah Mehsud’s killing in the US drone attack in the restive North Waziristan tribal area, Dispatch News Desk reported.

During the telephonic conversation, the prime minister told Kerry that the recent missile strike has sabotaged Pakistani government’s planned peace talks with the militants, and that the Washington must assist Islamabad in combating terrorism, officials said.

Officials said that Kerry assured that the United States respects Pakistan’s sovereignty and integrity. He underscored the need of Pak-US strong relations and vowed to support Islamabad in war against terrorism.

A US drone strike killed the outlawed militant group Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Hakimullah Mehsud as it targeted his vehicle when he was leaving from a meeting at a mosque Dande Darpakhel area of North Waziristan tribal region on Friday evening.

The Pakistani government denounced Mehsud’s killing as a US bid to derail peace talks and summoned the US ambassador on Saturday to complain. Some politicians called for blocking NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.

In a statement on Monday, US Secretary of State John Kerry defended the drone strike that killed Hakimullah Mehsud but added that Washington was sensitive to any Pakistani concerns, after Islamabad denounced the attack as a blow to peace talks.

Kerry said that while he welcomed any discussions “we are sensitive to the concerns of the country and we look forward to working very closely with the government of Pakistan.”

“We intend to continue to work together with them (Pakistanis) through the strategic dialogue that we have established in order to work through these kinds of challenges,” Kerry said.