Pakistani President: "It's Our War"

pakistan president Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistan accused the U.S. this week of violating international law by launching missile strikes into its northwest tribal region. There have been about two dozen attacks since August - all carried out by unmanned drones targeting al Qaeda and the Taliban. It is a sore subject between two close allies in the war on terror. And it was the first thing CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Lara Logan brought up when she spoke exclusively with Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari.

Lara Logan: There's been a dramatic escalation in the number of U.S. predator strikes on Pakistani soil. Are these strikes achieving anything?

President Asif Ali Zardari: Well, obviously the people who are using the strikes are confident that they're doing something. Otherwise they wouldn't be at it. At the same time ... it's undermining my sovereignty and it's not helping win the war on the hearts and minds of people.

Logan: If you're losing the people and the strikes are undermining your credibility - why allow them?

Zardari: They do not happen with our knowledge. If there was now the technology that would tell me that their drone is coming in …

Logan: But that technology would be the U.S. informing you because it's your country.

Zardari: The U.S. yeah, of course, that would be a welcome step to inform us also.

Many believe the Pakistani government does know, but can't say so publicly because the strikes are so unpopular. Zardari told CBS News his official policy is that they'd rather have the capability to do it themselves.

Zardari: So that is ever the challenge for this new administration, will be to allow us to have the capability of doing more. We want to do more. It's our war.

But not all Pakistanis see it that way, and if Predator strikes are unpopular, ground raids by U.S. forces are even more unwelcome.

Zardari: Anybody who needs to come to Pakistan needs to have a passport and a visa. So whether it's ground forces or air forces they need a visa and if they don't have a visa they're not allowed.

The problem for President Zardari, who has only been in power for two months, is that he presides over a country which is believed to house more known terrorists than anywhere else in the world, operating mostly from the lawless tribal areas.

Logan: It's widely agreed today that if there's another 9/11 attack ... a big terrorist attack like that, its most likely going to be planned in the tribal areas or planned already. What can you do to assure American people about what you're doing?

Zardari: Well I can assure the American people that nothing like that is going to happen in my watch.

Logan: Do you believe that's a danger?

Zardari: I believe there's always a danger of them. I didn't know that they'd be successful in getting my wife. We thought we'd protect her but we couldn't. But to say we'd allow it to happen. No.

  • Lara Logan
    Lara Logan

    Lara Logan's bold, award-winning reporting from war zones has earned her a prominent spot among the world's best foreign correspondents. Logan began contributing to 60 Minutes in 2005.