Thursday, February 23, 2012
U.S. resumed drone strikes despite Pakistani objections
In spite of Pakistani criticism and a motion in the Pakistani parliament that drone strikes cease, the U.S. simply informed Pakistan that it was resuming the attacks without any agreement. '
Last month on Jan. 10th the attacks resumed after a pause of two months after relations were strained with Pakistan. A U.S. attack on the border of Pakistan killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
Sources say that both vice-president Biden and Secty of State Clinton spoke with Pakistani officials. Rumours were that there were negotiations to limit attacks and co-ordinate with the Pakistanis but apparently this was not to be.
In public Pakistani politicians have always objected to the drone strikes as violations of sovereignty. However, there have never been any attempts to shoot the drones down although on occasion this has been threatened. Many analysts believe that privately there is tacit agreement to the attacks.
The Pakistani intelligence service even helps in targeting. U.S. officials say they are not likely to give Pakistan advance notice of attacks as they fear that militants might be given the information.
The drone attacks have fueled already strong anti-US sentiment in Pakistan. The Pakistani foreign minister Hina Khar is on a visit to the UK and is trying to convince the British to use their influence with the U.S. to stop the drone attacks. See this article. For more on the drone strikes see this article.
Obama has made expansion of drone and special forces attacks a center piece of his war policy making much more use of drones than his predecessor Bush. U.S. liberals on the whole remain silent about them.