US, Pakistan to resume drone talks next week

Zaheer will demand American military and intelligence forces end the armed drone strikes against suspected terror targets inside Pakistan during his sit down with CIA Director David Petraeus, Agence France-Presse reported on Wednesday. 

"This visit comes against the backdrop of extensive consultations between civilian and military leadership, and the general has been authorized to take a firm stand on drones issue during his talks," a senior Pakistani official told AFP. 

Instead of U.S.-led drone strikes against suspected terror groups, such as the Taliban and al Qaeda, seeking refuge inside Pakistan's borders, Zaheer will request local forces be tasked with those counterterrorism operations, the official said. 

In July, reports surfaced that Islamabad was quietly lobbying Washington for control over the human intelligence assets inside the country that pinpoint locations and targets for American drones. 

Granting Pakistani officials that kind of authority would essentially allow Islamabad to dictate which targets U.S. military and intelligence forces can hit inside the country. 

That authority would theoretically allow Islamabad to protect suspected terror groups allegedly allied with Pakistani intelligence from U.S. strikes, while serving up groups that threaten the country's national security. 

In the run-up to the eventual supply line deal with the United States, Pakistani officials publicly demanded an end to all American drone strikes in the country as a precursor to granting access to Pakistani supply routes. 

However, Islamabad decided to open the routes, but only after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a rare apology for an errant U.S. airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and prompted the closure of the supply routes last November.