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Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Drone Strikes Continue To Fuel Anti-US Sentiment In Pakistan

Jason Ditz

US Claims Massive ‘Militant’ Deaths and Almost No Civilian Casualties

The CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas, something which has become an enormous issue over the past year and a half, have been an enormous source of controversy, both legal and practical.

The US, for its part, maintains that the drone strikes have caused no more than 30 civilian casualties, while killing over 500 militants. The claims seem common among US officials, in keeping with the narrative of precision drone strikes.

But they are tough to swallow for children killed and maimed in the almost constant bombardment. And for villagers the claims that friends and relatives are “suspected militants” are tough to reconcile with reality, as are the claims of US precision.

They also don’t jibe with figures from Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies, which estimate that the US actually killed 700 civilians in 2009 alone, while killing only a handful of confirmed militants. The number of civilians wounded in all these attacks is unknown, but significant.

It is unsurprising, then, that the strikes continue to inflame anti-US sentiment across Pakistan, and US claims that the victims are almost universally “militants” is likely only making matters worse, in the face of enormous evidence to the contrary.

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Army investigates reports of Hakeemullah Mehsud’s death

February 1, 2010 1 comment

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani army said it is investigating reports that Pakistani Taliban leader Hakeemullah  Mehsud has died from injuries sustained in a US drone missile strike.

Pakistani army spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas said the army is using its agents in Pakistan’s northwest where the death is reported to have occurred to try to confirm or deny the reports.

Pakistani state TV reported earlier Sunday that Mehsud died in Orakzai tribal area, where he was reportedly being treated for his injuries. It cited ”official sources.”

Pakistani intelligence officials have said that Mehsud was hit in a US drone strike in South Waziristan on Jan. 14, triggering rumors he had been injured or killed. Mehsud issued two audio tapes after the strike denying the rumors. The state run TV also claimed that Mehsud had been buried in Tajaka village in Mamozai area of Orakzai Agency.

US Drone Shot Down in North Waziristan

January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

PKKH

MIRANSHAH: A suspected US drone has been shot down in North Waziristan, sources said Sunday. The local tribesmen have claimed that they fired down the unmanned aircraft in Hamzoni area.

The unmanned aircraft came down in Humzoni area of Datta Khel in North Wazirisitan bordering Afghanistan, where there have been over 14 drone strikes over the past few weeks.

According to state TV, the drone was shot down while the tribesmen have also claimed that they fired down the pilot less aircraft.

Both the Pakistani and US authorities have maintained a silence on this officially, although it is suspected to be a warning to Langley from Pakistan’s Armed Forces to put an immediate halt to US airspace violations and missile attacks inside Pakistani territory. Relations between the two ‘allies’ appear to have taken a nose-dive in recent days.