[FoRK] more change you can believe in

Eugen Leitl eugen at leitl.org
Thu Mar 19 09:00:03 PDT 2009


Obama May Widen Drone War Over Pakistan

By Noah Shachtman EmailMarch 17, 2009 | 9:16:00 PMCategories: Drones, Perils
of Pakistan  

Six times in the last two months, the new administration has used unmanned
aircraft to strike at Taliban camps in the largely-ungoverned tribal
wildlands on Pakistan. That could be just the start, however. New York Times
reports that President Obama's national security team is considering an
expansion the target set, to include the Pakistani mainland. Specifically,
they're setting their sights around the city of Quetta, in Baluchistan.

    Some American officials say the [drone] strikes in the tribal areas have
forced some leaders of the Taliban and Al Qaeda to flee south toward Quetta,
making them more vulnerable. In separate reports, groups led by both Gen.
David H. Petraeus, commander of American forces in the region, and Lt. Gen.
Douglas E. Lute, a top White House official on Afghanistan, have recommended
expanding American operations outside the tribal areas if Pakistan cannot
root out the strengthening insurgency.

Already, some counterinsurgency specialists warn, the unmanned attacks have
been destabilizing to an already-fragile Pakistan government. "If we want to
strengthen our friends and weaken our enemies in Pakistan, bombing Pakistani
villages with unmanned drones is totally counterproductive," influential
counterinsurgency adviser David Kilcullen recently told Danger Room. And that
was before the mass protests in Lahore, the standoff between Pakistan's two
leading politicians -- and these new reports, the drone war may extend even
further than before.

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