Thursday, May 24, 2012
U.S ignores Pakistani demands and continues drone strikes
U.S. drone strikes are reported to have killed 10 in a village in North Waziristan. Such strikes are a clear signal to Pakistan that even though ceasing drone strikes has been made a condition of re-opening supply lines the U.S. will not stop the strikes, not even while talks are ongoing.
In spite of the ongoing attacks Pakistan did let some supplies in last week perhaps as a condition of being invited to the recent Chicago Summit.. According to this article the military have been authorized to negotiate a permanent opening.
The drone strikes are unpopular in Pakistan. Three parliamentary motions have demanded they cease but to no avail. The issue is being used by opposition parties to attack the ruling party and will be important in the next election.
Obama has defended the strikes as a vital and successful part of strategy in the region. He has ruled out ending them. However this puts the Pakistani government in a difficult position. Going along with the U.S. and ignoring parliamentary demands could doom the ruling party to defeat in the next election and cause unrest meanwhile.
Probably the routes will be re-opened soon with the U.S. releasing some of the several billion owed to Pakistan for its role in fighting terrorists in Pakistan. Fees for transport will go up too. Even if the routes are reopened there will no doubt be frequent attacks on the convoys with much damage by militants. For more see this article.