Lifting the veil on conflict, culture and politics
The United States has carried out the most intensive series of unmanned ”Predator” drone attacks inside Pakistan’s tribal areas since the covert war began, following December’s deadly raid on a CIA base just over the border in Afghanistan. Pakistani newspapers citing interior ministry data, say there were 12 missile strikes in January fired by the unmanned Predator and Reaper planes, the highest for any single month. The highest number of attacks in a month stood at six previously, which was in December 2009. There were just two strikes in January 2009, reflecting the surge in the drone campaign to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban since the Obama administration took over last year.
The strikes began a day after the attack on the CIA base in Khost in eastern Afghanistan in which seven Americans were killed when a Jordanian suicide bomber linked to both al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban detonated his explosives inside the base. Since then the drones have been in South and North Waziristan targeting the head of the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-e-Taliban) Hakimullah Mehsud, who according to some reports may have been killed in a Jan.14 strike.
“The consequent increase in US strikes, first in North Waziristan and then South Waziristan, specifically targeting the fugitive TTP chief Hakimullah Mehsud clearly shows that revenge is the major motive for these attacks. The US intelligence sleuths stationed in Afghanistan are convinced the Khost suicide attack was planned in Waziristan with the help of the TTP. Therefore, it is believed Afghanistan-based American drones will continue to hunt the most wanted al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, especially Hakimullah, with a view to avenge the loss of the seven CIA agents and to raise morale of its forces in Afghanistan,” Pakistan’s The News, which has compiled details of each strike, writes.