third presidential debate Monday night, Republican Presidential hopeful, Governor
Mitt Romney supported President Barack Obama's drone operations in Pakistan. When the
moderator Bob Schieffer asked Romney "we know President Obama's position on
this, what is your position on the use of drones?"
he "believed we should use any and all means necessary to take out people who
pose a threat to us and our friends around the world." He supported the drone
attacks in Pakistan
by saying: "I feel the president was right to up the usage of that technology,
and believe that we should continue to use it, to continue to go after the
people that represent a threat to this nation and to our friends."
to a report last month by academics at Stanford and New
York universities, between 2,562 and 3,325 people have been killed
since the strikes in Pakistan
began in 2004. The report said of those, up to 881 were civilians,
including 176 children. Only 41 people who had died had been
confirmed as "high-value' terrorist targets.
US-Pakistan relations, Schieffer reminded Romney that "General Allen, our
commander in Afghanistan,
says that Americans continue to die at the hands of groups who are supported by
We know that Pakistan
has arrested the doctor (Dr. Shakeel Afridi) who helped us catch Osama bin
Laden. It still provides safe haven for terrorists, yet we continue to give Pakistan
billions of dollars."
asked: Is it time for us to divorce Pakistan?
no, it's not time to divorce a nation on Earth that has 100 nuclear weapons and
is on the way to double that at some point. Pakistan
is important for the success of Afghanistan,
said Romney adding: "Because inside Pakistan, you have a -- a large
group of Pashtun that are -- that are Taliban. They're going to come rushing
back in to Afghanistan
when we go. And that's one of the reasons the Afghan Security Forces have so
much work to do to be able to fight against that. But it's important for us to
recognize that we can't just walk away from Pakistan."
voiced concern about the Haqqani network, a militant group in Afghanistan that US officials have linked to Pakistan, and worried over the power of Pakistan's
Inter-Services Intelligence agency. "It's a nation that's not like others
and it does not have a civilian leadership that is calling the shots
there," Romney said.
He said Pakistan is technically
our ally but it is not acting very much like an ally right now. "But we have
some work to do. And I -- I don't blame the administration for the fact that
the relationship with Pakistan
is strained. We -- we had to go into Pakistan. We had to go in there to
get Osama bin Laden."
that "we're going to have to work with the people in Pakistan to try and help them move
to a more responsible course than the one that they're on. And it's important
for them. It's important for the nuclear weapons."
On US aid
to Pakistan, Romney was of the view that any US aid to Pakistan should "be conditioned
upon certain benchmarks being met to remain helpful in encouraging Pakistan to
move towards a more stable government and rebuild the relationship with us."