Pakistan would rather have technical expertise with which it can combat militants on its border with Afghanistan than have the U.S. fire missiles into Pakistani territory, Islamabads ambassador in Washington argued in an interview Thursday. The government of Pakistan has repeatedly said that we would like to have the capability to be able to identify and take out targets on ground, Ambassador Husain Haqqani told National Public Radio. Pakistan, he stressed, prefers to do everything on the Pakistani side of the border itself. And the reason is very simple: We have a military capability in certain areas and in some areas we lack certain technical capabilities and we would like that technical capabilities for ourselves. The Pakistanis are committed to fighting militants in the Afghan border region but it is unfair to characterize Pakistan as a base for al-Qaeda-linked elements, since militants straddle both sides of the porous and challenging border, he clarified. The radio noted that the Pakistani public opinion against U.S. missile strikes by unmanned drones is high. Although the strikes have killed several top militant leaders, civilian casualties have also been claimed. Haqqani said the U.S. and Pakistan governments understand the need to deal with those who pose a threat to global peace and security but called for understanding Islamabads concerns on the sensitive issue of drone strikes. You must also understand that when you have unmanned aerial vehicles drop missiles, taking out people, and it infuriates public opinion, then obviously the Pakistani government has to stand by Pakistani public opinion. I think we have a shared frustration that the Taliban and al-Qaida move between the mountainous regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan and manage to have the support of some of the people living there. Haqqani replied to a question. The diplomat also said he believes that whatever the outcome of the war against al-Qaida, the U.S. wont abandon Afghanistan to its own devices the way it did after the defeat of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. My understanding from interactions with senior officials in the United States is that the Obama administration does not wish to walk away from Afghanistan, that it understands the cost of doing so and that nobody wants a Central Asian Somalia or a failed state as a legacy, he said. After all, they dont want anybody plotting and planning attacks against America sitting in Afghanistan. In response to a question about Pakistanis opinion regarding U.S. reputation, ambassador Haqqani replied: Look, most Pakistanis, also say, the same opinion polls, where most Pakistanis express reservations about the United States, when asked the question do you want the US to be a friend of Pakistan, they say yes we do. But if there are reservations about the manner of engagement, then that is something we can work upon. In fact, I consider that my job description. Im trying to find a way in which we can keep American engagement in our region but in a way it finds support of the people of Pakistan and support and sympathy of the people of Afghanistan.