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Pakistan calls drone strikes 'red line' U.S. can't cross

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States on Tuesday blasted President Obama's use of drone strikes against terror targets in her country, calling it a "red line" that the administration should not cross.

Sherry Rehman, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, said drone strikes are hampering bettering relations between Washington and Islamabad and whipping up anti-Americanism which "creates more potential terrorists on the ground, and militants on the ground instead of taking them out." She added: "We need to drain the swamp, but instead it is radicalizing people."

Rehman also slapped down the Academy Award nominated movie "Zero Dark Thirty," about the CIA's long search and killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, as "very zero, very dark."

Her comments about drones comes as Obama's Pentagon and CIA are relying more and more on drones, especially as he continues a drawdown of U.S. troops in Pakistan's neighbor, Afghanistan. Obama wants troops out by the end of next year.

During a media breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Rehman opened by heralding a blossoming relationship with Washington, one that hit rock bottom when U.S. forces flew into Pakistan to kill bin Laden. She also praised incoming Secretary of State John Kerry as somebody who "brings experience and knowledge" of her country to the table.

But then she raised concerns about likely border insecurity with Afghanistan when U.S. troops leave, and begged Washington to give her country credit for joining in the anti-terror campaign of the last 11 years and helping to stop insurgents from crossing the border into her country.

She aired worries about "security vacuums" on the border after the drawdown.

But she made her most impassioned plea against drone strikes, which she called "a direct violation of our sovereignty and we also see them as a direct violation of international law."

Rehman also said that Pakistan isn't talking out of both sides of its mouth on the drone issue: slamming them in public but in private encouraging U.S. strikes against targets her government can't find. "There is no question of any quiet complicity, no question of wink and nod. This is a parliamentary red line," she said.