Despite public protests in Pakistan over relentless US drone strikes within that country in the last 45 days, the US isn’t relenting in its drone attacks in Pakistan, with three already in October including one on Monday that reportedly killed eight German nationals in North Waziristan. They are unlikely to forgo the CIA-led strategy as it has proven effective in killing terrorists.
The numbers are startling – 78 strikes so far in 2010 as against 53 in all of 2009. More importantly, according to New America Foundation data, there may have been nearly 700 terrorists killed during the campaign this year, compared to around 400 in 2009, which was then a record number. Over 100 may have been killed since September 2010.
Coupled with hot pursuit of terrorists into Pakistani territory by US-led aircraft, this had led to a bottoming out of the relationship between the United States and Pakistan despite the latter’s Foreign Minister SM Qureshi cutting short his schedule in New York during the UN General Assembly in late September to rush to Washington for a firefighting operation.
According to data available with the Long War Journal, nearly two-thirds of the strikes have been targeted at strongholds of the Haqqani Network and the Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadar. Security analyst Bill Roggio said,
“Despite the fact that Bahadar and the Haqqani Network shelter Al Qaida and other South and Central Asian terror groups, the Pakistani government and military refuse to take action in North Waziristan. Bahadar and the Haqqanis are viewed as ‘good Taliban’ as they do not attack the Pakistani state.”
The recent spate of attacks has led to criticism within Pakistan