Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that President Obama has a timeline for ending drone strikes in Pakistan, and “we hope it’s going to be very, very soon.”
Kerry, on a visit to Islamabad, made his remarks in an interview with Pakistan TV. The comments were made available via the media pool reporter covering the trip.
The visit, which began Wednesday, was expected to address a wide range of topics, including “promoting security, strengthening the Pakistani economy, and reinforcing people-to-people ties between the United States and Pakistan, in addition to regional topics of mutual interest,” according to the State Department.
However, the issue of U.S. counter-terrorism is one of the most sensitive topics between the two nations. The U.S. strikes on alleged Taliban and al-Qaeda targets along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region have infuriated many Pakistanis.
Addressing the local sentiment about drone attacks, Kerry said Obama was very concerned about the reaction to counterterrorism activity. “We want to work with Pakistan, not against it.”
“I think the program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it,” Kerry said.
As to the existence of a U.S. timeline for cessation, he added: “I think the President has