Pakistan's president said the United States did not coordinate with his government before launching an attack against al-Qaida suspects that killed civilians in a border village and triggered nationwide protests, a report said Sunday.
President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, speaking in an interview with the Washington Post, condemned the attack as an "issue of sovereignty" but acknowledged there may have been al-Qaida members in the area.
The Jan. 13 missile strike in the tribal region of Bajur, near the Afghan border, is believed to have killed four or five Arabs as well as 13 villagers, spurring condemnation from Islamic groups.
"This was definitely not coordinated with us," the newspaper quoted Musharraf as saying. "We condemn it and have objected to it as an issue of sovereignty. (But) we do know there are foreigners and al-Qaida in that (area). It is my regret that there are (such) people there."
Radical Islamic groups opposed to Musharraf's alliance with Washington in the war against terror have held noisy protests against the airstrike, accusing Washington of violating Pakistan's sovereignty.