Drone strike in South Waziristan kills eight

Two missiles strike house in the village of Babar Ghar, leaving six dead and two wounded.

Web Desk February 08, 2013
A US spy drone. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

A US drone strike in South Waziristan on Friday evening killed at least eight people and left two wounded, Express News reported.

Two missiles struck a house in the village of Babar Ghar, a tribal district bordering Afghanistan which is a stronghold of Taliban and al Qaeda-linked militants.

On Wednesday, three militants, including a foreign fighter, were killed when an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) fired missiles on a militant compound in Ghulam Khan tehsil in North Waziristan.

Last month, US drones fired a volley of missiles at militant hideouts in Babar Ghar, killing at least 12 Taliban fighters, security officials said.


David | 10 years ago | Reply

The CIA gathers its information on potential drone targets by relying on sources on the ground. So basically -- nothing new here -- people with local disputes can falsely inform on each other, or provide suspicions without hard evidence. (Why else was a meeting of tribal elders disputing ownership of mine ground zero of cold blooded mass slaughter triggered by a monitor sitting in a cubicle in Nebraska?) Suspicion is all the CIA needs, the CIA now being, without any domestic change in legislation, a combat organization. This actually goes against the CIA's traditional (but no less "shadowy") identity. Regardless, Americans think it is in the interests only because the mainstream media has been complicit with power politics in Washington. No Americans are going to change their minds on this just because Stanford Law School has done research into how the constant and ubiquitous presence of drones in northern Pakistan has adversely affected daily life there. The average American citizen has no interest in making enemies in this part of the world; unfortunately, after so much distortion of reality, Americans think they've always had enemies there--and most of them, without photographic evidence right up in their face, really don't care civilians -- who are totally faceless and nameless to them -- are dying in sudden horrifically mutilating violence.

Kyle Shank | 10 years ago | Reply

@ Something Clever

Under international law, a state can only "forfeit sovereignty" on humanitarian grounds. Even though the United States has declared war on a non-state entity (Al-Qaeda) and has been following a unilateral approach to territorial sovereignty with regards to neutralizing non-state activity (read: drones), there has been no declaration of a humanitarian crisis in Pakistan which would meet the international requirements laid out for outside intervention. Do not take this to mean that I believe there may not indeed be a humanitarian crisis in Pakistan--that very well may be true. But the legal argument we utilized for the invasion of Afghanistan (of which the humanitarian crisis was but one component) cannot justifiably be utilized here.

As it goes, it is my belief that our extraterritorial strikes against Pakistan are indeed illegal and thus open to censure and rebuke in international criminal courts. However, I don't believe such actions will be forthcoming--both domestic and foreign policy in the United States and the current state of affairs within the Pakistani government both require that these strikes continue. The United States requires the tacit, if unspoken agreement of the Pakistani government and armed forces to continue its stated mission of a stable Afghan state, regardless of what unstated missions may exist (of which I'm sure there are many). The Pakistani government requires a distraction from domestic pressures by focusing on both internal military disputes (of which the tribal areas offer many) and an outlet for public frustration (which the United States, with drone strikes, provides).


I believe that your statement is flawed. Drone strikes are not the only options available to the United States to achieve its desired goals in the region of Central Asia--it is simply the easiest to sell to a domestic audience. A much more effective policy would be to bring Iran into a regional security pact: Iran has much more of a vested interest in having a stable state on its border. Russia and Pakistan would be important partners, but it is my assessment that the Afghan people would reject any Russian presence on justifiable grounds; Pakistan, too, though important, would probably be a more destabilizing presence than workable one, considering their past and ongoing ties to non-state regional actors within Afghanistan. This is of course an "impossible" track considering the current state of affairs between the US and Iran: it would, however, probably provide the most "stability" to the region.

Another possible outlet would be to tie all future monetary and military aid to Pakistan to their own rigid enforcement of the law within the tribal areas. This then poses domestic Pakistani problems: the re-writing of legal codes which apply to the tribal areas, the political fallout of domestic military repression, and the like. This would also be detrimental to the United States, for we would most likely further the international opinion that we pursue "safety" over "democracy", as Pakistan would likely utilize overwhelming military force to pacify the region in order to maintain monetary aid.

Then, as you said, there are drones: cheap (relatively), and without much domestic US opposition, since drone strikes are very rarely covered in domestic media and are extremely difficult to find accurate information about. These strikes too have a cost, however: by further eroding the domestic belief in moral American jurisprudence and the legislative and judicial branches of government, the previous role that the United States enjoyed as an international arbiter of fairness has all but been blotted out.

My question to you is thus: even if the surgical procedure manages to "kill the cancer", is it worth it if it kills the patient also?

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