The new president of Pakistan called the fight against terrorism in the country's tribal areas "our war" in a TV news interview in which he criticized airstrikes credited to the United States.
"It's undermining my sovereignty and it's not helping win the war on the hearts and minds of people," President Asif Ali Zardari told CBS News.
Zardari said strikes by unmanned U.S. drones, unpopular among the people of Pakistan, occur without his prior knowledge, and he would prefer Pakistanis take charge of taking out Al Qaeda and the Taliban within the country's borders.
"That is ever the challenge for this new administration, will be to allow us to have the capability of doing more," he told CBS News. "We Want to do more. It's our war."
The U.S. military is believed to have carried out at least 18 missile attacks on suspected militant targets close to the border in Pakistan since August. The missiles are believed to be fired from unmanned planes launched in Afghanistan, where some 32,000 U.S. troops are fighting a resurgent Taliban insurgency.
The drone attacks topped the Pakistani concerns aired during a meeting Wednesday between Zardari and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"These drone attacks are unproductive, and they are contributing to alienation as opposed to winning people over," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said in an interview after briefing reporters on the 20-minute meeting between Rice and Zardari.
At a United Nations interfaith conference on Thursday, Zardari called terrorism, discrimination, and violence against women "un-Islamic" and urged world leaders to support the moderate Islamic principles advocated by his assassinated wife, Benazir Bhutto -- dialogue, tolerance and opposition to extremism.