22:29 GMT28 February 2021
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    Pakistan’s top security expert told Sputnik that Niger’s government was not doing the right thing by asking the US to conduct drone attacks on militants. He said it was not justified on the part of the US military to carry out drone attacks as per their whims, as such deadly attacks cause huge civilian casualties.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — Talat Masood, considered Pakistan's topmost security expert, has warned that the use of drones by the US military in Niger would be unjustified, as it would cause civilian causalities. Masood's observations come amid media reports that Niger has requested the US military carry out drone operations against militants operating along its border with Mali.

    "Niger government's decision to ask the US to use drones against the terrorists will have long-term ramifications. The main problem with the drones is that they hit civilians as well which will result in resentment against the US in the long run," retired Lt Gen Talat Masood told Sputnik.

    "I asked them some weeks ago to arm them (US drones) and use them as needed," Defense Minister Kalla Mountari of Niger had told the media recently.

    Niger is a key US ally in the fight against terrorism. The United States has provided support for the military of Niger, especially in the way of training forces to combat multiple terrorist groups. Niger faces threats from the local Boko Haram along its southern border and Algeria-based al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb along its porous borders to the west and north. Pockets of Islamic State fighters reportedly operate in the west.

    Pakistani expert Talat Masood is of the opinion that the irresponsible use of US drones has been a major cause of fallout between countries, causing tension around the world.

    "The US thinks that they are most powerful and can do anything against any nation. The fact is that many of these activities are responsible for tension around the world," Masood added.

    He claimed that the use of drones in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region was America's unilateral move.

    "What America is doing is not justified. No one gave the US the right to use drones in Afghanistan-Pakistan region. The US must understand and respect the basic principles of any country. Unilateral use of drones by the US is condemnable. There have been protests in Pakistan against the US drone warfare, as many civilians including children have been killed by drones," Masood said.

    A growing US military role in Niger is both unpopular with the local population as well as among the American civil society, which considers the country's engagement in the central African country a costly affair.




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