Pakistan pulled out of talks this month with the United States on the future of Afghanistan in protest of an especially deadly American missile attack, the government said Friday, in a sign of rising tensions between the two uneasy allies. Pakistan's army chief has already criticized Thursday's missile attack on a house close to the Afghan border in a rare personal statement. Intelligence officials say about 36 people — most of them civilians — were killed. A U.S. official familiar with details denied that innocent people were targeted and suggested all the dead were militants or sympathizers. The relationship was already fraught over the case of an American CIA contractor who shot and killed two Pakistanis but was freed Wednesday, putting the weak government on the defensive against critics who accused it of selling out to the Americans.
The missile attack added to the heat on the government, which summoned U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter to protest.
"It is evident that the fundamentals of our relations need to be revisited," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement that did not mention how many civilians were killed. "Pakistan should not be taken for granted nor treated as a client state."
The statement said Pakistan would not attend talks proposed by the United States in Brussels on March 26. Pakistan had been scheduled to send its deputy foreign minister to the meeting, which was to include a delegation from Afghanistan.