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Thread: US drone attack kills 15 in Pakistan tribal area

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    US drone attack kills 15 in Pakistan tribal area

    US drone attack kills 15 in Pakistan tribal area

    (AP) 9 hours ago

    PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) The U.S. carried out its first drone attack in Pakistan since Osama bin Laden's death in an American raid this week, killing 15 people in a hail of missiles near the Afghan border Friday, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

    The strike targeted a vehicle suspected of carrying foreign militants in the North Waziristan tribal area, an al-Qaida and Taliban stronghold that has been subject to frequent missile attacks, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.

    The aircraft fired eight missiles at the vehicle as it drove near a roadside restaurant, killing at least 15 people, including foreign militants, said the officials. At least one civilian died when the missiles damaged the restaurant and a nearby home, they said.

    It was unclear whether intelligence gleaned from the U.S. commando raid that killed bin Laden on Monday played a part in the drone strike.

    Drone attacks are extremely unpopular in Pakistan, and the most recent attack could further increase tensions between the U.S. and Pakistan that have spiked in the wake of bin Laden's death.

    Many U.S. officials have expressed skepticism of claims by Pakistani officials that they didn't know where bin Laden was hiding even though he was found in a compound in the army town of Abbottabad, only about a two hours' drive from the capital.

    The U.S. refuses to publicly acknowledge the covert CIA drone program in Pakistan, but officials have said privately that the attacks have killed many senior al-Qaida and Taliban commanders.

    Pakistani officials regularly condemn the attacks as violations of the country's sovereignty. But many are believed to privately support the program, and some of the drones are suspected of taking off from inside Pakistan.

    Copyright 2011 The Associated Press
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Perhaps..this was not wise right after Kayani's warning about no more sovereignty violations. Making the PA look more and more like a fool could be counter productive.

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    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Keeping the pimp hand strong.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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    Army chief wanted more drone support

    By Hasan Zaidi | From the Newspaper

    Army chief wanted more drone support | Newspaper | DAWN.COM

    KARACHI: Secret internal American government cables, accessed by Dawn through WikiLeaks, provide confirmation that the US military’s drone strikes programme within Pakistan had more than just tacit acceptance of the country’s top military brass, despite public posturing to the contrary. In fact, as long ago as January 2008, the country’s military was requesting the US for greater drone back-up for its own military operations.

    Previously exposed diplomatic cables have already shown that Pakistan’s civilian leaders are strongly supportive – in private – of the drone strikes on alleged militant targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), even as they condemn them for general consumption. But it is not just the civilian leadership that has been following a duplicitous policy on the robotic vehicles.

    In a meeting on January 22, 2008 with US CENTCOM Commander Admiral William J. Fallon, Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani requested the Americans to provide “continuous Predator coverage of the conflict area” in South Waziristan where the army was conducting operations against militants. The request is detailed in a ‘Secret’ cable sent by then US Ambassador Anne Patterson on February 11, 2008. Pakistan’s military has consistently denied any involvement in the covert programme run mainly by the CIA.

    The American account of Gen Kayani’s request for “Predator coverage” does not make clear if mere air surveillance were being requested or missile-armed drones were being sought. Theoretically “Predator coverage” could simply mean air surveillance and not necessarily offensive support. However the reaction to the request suggests otherwise. According to the report of the meeting sent back to Washington by Patterson, Admiral Fallon “regretted that he did not have the assets to support this request” but offered trained US Marines (known as JTACs) to coordinate air strikes for Pakistani infantry forces on ground. General Kayani “demurred” on the offer, pointing out that having US soldiers on ground “would not be politically acceptable.”

    In another meeting with US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen over March 3-4, 2008, Kayani was asked for his help “in approving a third Restricted Operating Zone for US aircraft over the FATA.” The request – detailed in a cable sent from the US Embassy Islamabad on March 24 – clearly indicates that two ‘corridors’ for US drones had already been approved earlier.

    In secret cable on October 9, 2009 (previously published by WikiLeaks), Ambassador Patterson reports that US military support to the Pakistan Army’s 11th Corps operations in South Waziristan would “be at the division-level and would include a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) full motion video.” In fact, in November 2008, Dawn had reported then commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, telling its reporter that US and Pakistan also share video feeds from Predator drones that carry out attacks. “We have a Predator feed going down to the one border coordination centre at Torkham Gate thats looked at by the Pakistan Military, Afghan Military, and the International Security Assistance Force,” General McKiernan had said.

    Sharing of video feeds does not imply operational control by Pakistan’s military, however, and even this sharing may have subsequently been suspended.

    Despite the occasionally disastrously misdirected attacks which have fed into the public hue and cry over civilian casualties, there is, in private, seeming general acceptance by the military of the efficacy of drone strikes. In a cable dated February 19, 2009, Ambassador Patterson sends talking points to Washington ahead of a week-long visit to the US by COAS Kayani. Referring to drone strikes, she writes: “Kayani knows full well that the strikes have been precise (creating few civilian casualties) and targeted primarily at foreign fighters in the Waziristans.”

    Another previously unpublished cable dated May 26, 2009 details President Zardari’s meeting on May 25 with an American delegation led by Senator Patrick Leahy. “Referring to a recent drone strike in the tribal area that killed 60 militants,” wrote Ambassador Patterson in her report, “Zardari reported that his military aide believed a Pakistani operation to take out this site would have resulted in the deaths of over 60 Pakistani soldiers.”

    The general support for drone strikes from both the military and civilian leadership is also evidenced by the continuous demand, documented over numerous cables, from Pakistan Government officials to American interlocutors for drone technology to be placed in Pakistani hands. The issue conveyed to the Americans is not so much that of accuracy as that of managing public perceptions.

    In the meeting with Senator Leahy, Zardari is directly quoted telling the US delegation to “give me the drones so my forces can take out the militants.” That way, he explains, “we cannot be criticized by the media or anyone else for actions our Army takes to protect our sovereignty.”

    General Kayani also “focused on the need for surveillance assets” in the meeting with Admiral Fallon according to Patterson’s cable. “Kayani said he was not interested in acquiring Predators, but was interested in tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs).” Predators are considered ‘theatre-level’ technology able to cover wide regions such as the whole of Afghanistan and Pakistan through remotely stationed operations rooms while ‘tactical’ drones are less wide-ranging and can be operated by forces on the ground.

    After the first US drone strike outside the tribal areas, in Bannu on November 19, 2008 which killed four people including an alleged senior Al Qaeda member, Ambassador Patterson had presciently noted in another previously unpublished cable (dated November 24, 2008) the dangers of keeping the Pakistani public misinformed. “As the gap between private GOP acquiescence and public condemnation for US action grows,” she wrote back to Washington, “Pakistani leaders who feel they look increasingly weak to their constituents could begin considering stronger action against the US, even though the response to date has focused largely on ritual denunciation.”

    Cables Referenced: WikiLeaks # 140777, 147015, 179645, 192895, 208526, 229065. All cables can be viewed on Dawn.com.

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    New A.Q. #2 Whacked By Drone

    A.Q. keeps promoting.

    We keep whacking.

    A.Q.'s operational head and organizational #2, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman (Libyan) has recently met his demise courtesy of PREDATOR and HELLFIRE. Recently elevated to maintain operational contact between the increasingly fractous elements of A.Q.-affiliated groups and their oft-devisive head, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Rahman had also been previously in close contact with Osama Bin Laden.

    This is a bad man. May he rest in hell-

    C.I.A. Drone Is Said To Kill Al Qaeda's No. 2-NYT Mazzetti Aug. 27, 2011
    tankie, IHM and Red Team like this.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
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    Drones In Pakistan

    Pir Zabair Shah makes this contribution for FOREIGN POLICY to drone liturgy as part of Obama's Secret War-

    My Drone War-Pir Zubair Shah Foreign Policy March/April 2012

    Thanks to our friend IHM for drawing my attention to this interesting piece.
    "This aggression will not stand, man!" Jeff Lebowski
    "The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you're uncool." Lester Bangs

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