Pakistan welcomes Obama stance on force

Obama defends drone program
Obama defends drone program

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Pakistan on Friday welcomed President Barack Obama's stance that "force alone cannot make us safer" in battling terrorism.

Obama, who outlined his counterterrorism policy in a speech Thursday, called "the use of force in fighting" terrorism as "part of a larger discussion about a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy."

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The United States for years has targeted militants in Pakistan with drone attacks. Obama said drone strikes, denounced by many because they have killed civilians, must be used with more temperance, but they remain a necessary tool to take on terrorists. Pakistan, which describes itself as a front-line state in the fight against terrorism, says the strikes have been counter-productive.

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In his speech, Obama said thousands of Pakistani soldiers have sacrificed their lives in the fight against terrorism. He said the United States is rebuilding its relationship with Pakistan after citizens criticized the U.S. raid in Pakistan that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

"Pakistani troops have borne the brunt and given the ultimate sacrifice for it. We appreciate President Obama's acknowledgment and recognition of the sacrifices made by Pakistan particularly by our law enforcement authorities. We welcome the resolve expressed by President Obama to continue efforts to rebuild the important bilateral relationship with Pakistan, which we believe should be based on the mutual respect and mutually of benefit," the Pakistani government said.

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