By Ben Chacko in Britain:
Predator drone strike kills 15
Friday 06 May 2011
The attack targeted a vehicle carrying “foreign militants” in Datta Khel, north Waziristan, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The drone fired eight missiles at the vehicle as it approached a roadside restaurant.
The restaurant and a nearby house were damaged and at least one civilian was among the dead, they said.
CIA drone attacks in north Waziristan have been a major plank of the US’s Afghan “strategy.”
The US does not publicly acknowledge its responsibility for such attacks but no other military has the capacity to deploy Predator drones.
The use of unmanned drones has become more common during Barack Obama’s presidency and is politically convenient for him as it does not involve US casualties.
However, US non-profit policy organisation the Brookings Institute has estimated that the drones kill 10 civilians on average for every militant killed. According to the Conflict Monitoring Centre, at least 900 Pakistanis were killed by drones in 2010 alone, with “the vast majority” of those being civilians.
Pakistan regularly condemns the attacks as violations of its sovereignty, but many in the country suspect the government of conniving with the programme.
The killings could further inflame tensions between Pakistan and the United States, which have been under intense strain all year.
Rallies against the US alliance were expected in several Pakistani cities yesterday.
In the aftermath of bin Laden’s death senior Pakistani officials have warned the US that they will not tolerate further unauthorised raids on their territory, while prominent US politicians have openly speculated that Pakistan may have been sheltering the al-Qaida chief.
Even before that operation the release of a CIA operative who shot dead two Pakistanis in Lahore in January had sparked mass protests.
Pakistan: Will Osama bin Laden’s assassination end religious fundamentalist attacks? Here.
Pakistan’s opposition has demanded an independent probe into the presence of Osama bin Laden in the country and the US strike on Pakistani soil that killed him: here.
Robert Naiman, Truthout: “Following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the floodgates opened in Washington this week for reconsideration of U.S. plans to continue the open-ended war in Afghanistan. Now Representatives Jim McGovern and Walter Jones have introduced the ‘Afghanistan Exit and Accountability Act,’ bipartisan legislation that would require the President present to Congress a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops and a clear end date for the war. It would require the President to submit quarterly reports to Congress on the progress of troop withdrawal, as well as the human and financial costs of continuing the war”: here.
U.S. Assassination Campaign Continues As CIA Drone Targets U.S.-Born Cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen: here.