HARDLY had the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, uttered the assurance that his government respected Pakistan's sovereignty that a village in South Waziristan became the target of missiles fired by the now familiar drones. And the Pentagon did not mince its words owing up to the strike at a compound in Baghar Cheena and claiming that the missiles had hit an ammunition storage facility of the Taliban, in which an Al-Qaeda member and three militants were killed. Since the US officials maintained that they had shared the information with the Pakistani authorities before launching the attack, one really wonders what understanding the top military commander had reached with Islamabad where he held meetings with Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and COAS General Ashfaq Kayani. Or should one assume that the Admiral had in mind a different connotation of the words he was using from the one understood by at least Mr Gilani? Otherwise, the Prime Minister would not have condemned the missile attack, as reported by a private TV channel. Nevertheless, even under the circumstances of sheer desperation by the mightiest military power in the world, intent on scoring some tangible gains before President Bush comes to the end of his second term at the White House, the Pakistani authorities must continue to make efforts to bring home to the US administration not to do anything that hurts the pride of an ally that is playing a key role in the fight against militancy. The US persistent attitude of disregarding Pakistan's territorial sovereignty would leave a deep scar behind, with far-reaching implications for the future of bilateral relations. It sounds quite strange that the Pakistan military operation under way in Bajaur should evoke appreciation not only from Admiral Mullen but also US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on the one hand, but the Pentagon drones should be attacking our villages, on the other. One should have imagined that the US army would be passing on the intelligence to its Pakistani counterpart for undertaking an operation it does on its own. If Washington believes, as Admiral Mullen has conveyed, that there is need for further development of US-Pakistan coordination in the critical issues that challenge the security and wellbeing of the people of both countries, it would have to review its present aggressive approach of utter disregard of its ally's sensitivities. While the people would like the end of militancy at the soonest, it has to be at a minimum cost of innocent lives. That the so-called collateral damage has been very heavy reflects the dimension of indiscriminate use of force by the US. That can only aggravate a sense of alienation and thus further strengthen hands of militants.