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Thread: Drone Strikes

  1. #16
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    dreadnought,



    in many of these cases, hanging around is not voluntary. either the civvies are there by the point of a gun, or because their ancestral homes have ALWAYS been there.
    Astralis, Given the choice of moving or the life of yourself and family which would you prefer. You can always come back once it cools down if it is your ancestral home. The land will still be there. Call it what you want but they wont stop targeting these individuals in the open. Not now and not in the future either. So in other words this problem wont go away until those individuals are dead or very close too. These people should start to use their brains and realize what is going on around them and realize America is not targeting them but in the same sense also cannot make them move even if they wanted too. The people are the only ones that can do that. Its their choice.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  2. #17
    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    The drones are an irrelevant issue. The only people angered by them are the Talibunnies and their supporters. Most of Pakistan is currently talking about how 'some collateral damage is neccessary' as their armed forces bomb and shell Malakand to dust.
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

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  3. #18
    chankya's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    They did counter insurgency and prevailed against their enemy when the Pakistani army was sent in Baluchistan to fight separatists. And anyway the Pakistani army is designed for conventional wars against what they think is their only enemy which is India.
    This is just BS. Just because an army is meant for conventional war does not mean that it can't fight an insurgency.

    They've fought counter insurgencies in Balochistan and Sindh and have been pretty damn successful.
    "Of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most." - Thucydides

  4. #19
    Professor (retired) Senior Contributor Merlin's Avatar
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    Information on these drone strkes compiled by Reuters.

    FACTBOX-U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

    ISLAMABAD, May 9 (Reuters) - Despite fresh pleas from Pakistan this week for an end to U.S. attacks on militants in Pakistan by pilotless drone aircraft, intelligence officials reported another attack on Saturday. ....

    Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari had discussed the drone strikes with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington on Wednesday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

    Civilian casualties caused by the missile-carrying drones in Pakistan have infuriated many Pakistanis and made it harder for the government to cooperate with the United States.

    Here are some facts about the U.S. missile attacks, ...

    WHY DOES THE UNITED STATES ATTACK?
    Many al Qaeda members and Taliban fled to northwestern Pakistan's ungoverned ethnic Pashtun belt after U.S.-led soldiers ousted the Taliban in 2001. From the sanctuaries, the militants have orchestrated insurgencies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The United States and Afghanistan have pressed Pakistan to eliminate the sanctuaries. Apparently frustrated by Pakistan's inability to do so, the United States is hitting the militants itself.

    HOW MANY ATTACKS?
    The United States has carried out about 40 drone air strikes since the begining of last year, most since September, killing more than 300 people, including many foreign militants, according to a tally of reports from Pakistani intelligence agents, district government officials and residents. There have been 14 attacks this year with five in April.

    SOME OF THE PEOPLE REPORTED KILLED

    Jan. 28, 2008 - A senior al Qaeda member, Abu Laith al-Libi, was killed in a strike in North Waziristan.

    July 28 - An al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons expert, Abu Khabab al-Masri, was killed in South Waziristan.

    Oct. 31 - A mid-level al Qaeda leader, Abu Akash, was killed in an attack in North Waziristan.

    Nov. 19 - An Arab al Qaeda operative identified as Abdullah Azam al-Saudi was killed in Bannu district.

    Nov. 22 - Rashid Rauf, a Briton with al Qaeda links and the suspected ringleader of a 2006 plot to blow up airliners over the Atlantic, was killed in an attack in North Waziristan. An Egyptian named as Abu Zubair al-Masri was also said to be among the dead in that same attack.

    Jan. 1, 2009 - A U.S. drone killed three foreign fighters in South Waziristan, Pakistani agents said. A week later, a U.S. counterterrorism official said al Qaeda's operational chief, Usama al-Kini, and an aide had been killed in South Waziristan. He declined to say how or when they died.

    WHERE ARE THE DRONES' LAUNCHING SITES?
    A senior U.S. lawmaker, Senator Dianne Feinstein, told a U.S. Senate hearing in February that drones were being operated and flown from an air base inside Pakistan. Pakistan denied that saying there was no permission for the strikes, nor had there even been.

    PAKISTAN'S POSITION
    Pakistan supports the U.S.-led campaign against militancy but does not allow foreign military operations inside its territory. It says the drones violate its sovereignty and undermine efforts to deal with militancy because they inflame public anger and bolster militant support.

    U.S. POSITION
    The United States has shrugged off Pakistani protests. It says the attacks are needed to protect U.S. troops in Afghanistan and kill Taliban and al Qaeda militants who threaten the forces.

  5. #20
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    Hamid Karzai wants the US to stop using Air Strikes in the Stan!!!!!!! Yeah right.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chankya View Post
    This is just BS. Just because an army is meant for conventional war does not mean that it can't fight an insurgency.

    They've fought counter insurgencies in Balochistan and Sindh and have been pretty damn successful.
    They haven't been damn successful they have suffered heavy casualties during the Balutchistan insurrection...What are they doing in these areas? they are shelling populated areas like hell, like this is suppposed to hurt the Taliban?

    In the Pashtun areas it may be far more difficult since it seems that a lot of people in the Pakistani Army come from this ethnic group. The Pashtun are the second or third ethnic group in Pakistan and we don't know if they really decided to get serious about the taliban.

    For them terrorists and irregulars may still appear to be a card worth playing against Karzai and in Kashmir. The lines are blurred in the regions we're talking about, theres a lot of what we call terrorism "simply" Pashtun nationalism.

  7. #22
    Dirty Kiwi Senior Contributor
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    The bulk of the Frontier Corp are made up of Pashtuns. After a shaky start they now have no motivational problems fighting the Taliban
    In the realm of spirit, seek clarity; in the material world, seek utility.

    Leibniz

  8. #23
    Decisive Terrain Military Professional
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    Yeah, it's rough, ya can't go outside to take a leak in South Waziristan without being on Drone TV.

    Civvie casualty numbers are always wrong. Too many cooks, too many ingredients in the brew. Not only that, the international media seems to take at face value any claim made by anti-coalition sources and invariably treat with skepticism denials or alternative figures or explanations released by the US military and ISAF.

    Drone intel is in real time, live on the big screen and strikes have proven to be very effective (not to mention unsettling to AQ and TB elements).
    And they may help lead us at some point to OBL. We need to drag his dead ass off the mountain.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oscar View Post
    They haven't been damn successful they have suffered heavy casualties during the Balutchistan insurrection...What are they doing in these areas? they are shelling populated areas like hell, like this is suppposed to hurt the Taliban?
    Yeah well then they probably don't want to win as opposed to aren't capable of winning. Which is what you imply when you talk of "conventional army... can't fight insurgency".

    Conventional armies still have infantry troops do they not? Basic infantry skills remain the same. Conventional capture of territory entails some element of counter insurgency in the aftermath. Don't tell me they never thought of it. They had active stay-behind groups in the event of a soviet invasion. They had a large number of troops as part of the Muj and then later as part of the Taliban(Re: Kunduz airlift) fighting against regular armies. So is there no person in the PA capable of using that knowledge? We're asked to believe that the PA is so wedded to conventional warfare that it's incapable of leaving its arty at home. I call BS.

    Secondly if you don't mind killing your own people and sitting on them for decades you very well can shell and destroy an insurgency. It's a solution that armies over the ages have used. The only element to it is public support. Call them Indian agents and you can wipe them out just like the Baloch separatism.

    In the Pashtun areas it may be far more difficult since it seems that a lot of people in the Pakistani Army come from this ethnic group. The Pashtun are the second or third ethnic group in Pakistan and we don't know if they really decided to get serious about the taliban.

    For them terrorists and irregulars may still appear to be a card worth playing against Karzai and in Kashmir. The lines are blurred in the regions we're talking about, theres a lot of what we call terrorism "simply" Pashtun nationalism.
    This has to do with the will to fight rather than the capability to do so. The PA when it wants to is perfectly capable of razing its own towns to wipe out an insurgency. It just doesn't want to contain the Taliban. Like you point they want to use them in Kashmir and Afghanistan in the future.

    Added Later: I see no real incentive for the PA actually. In their experience they got massive largess to fight the Soviets. That tap dried when the Soviets left. Now the tap is open again. To actually defeat the Taliban would be counterproductive for them. They'd lose the money and the leverage against their neighbors. So why should the PA fight?

    Let me make a wild prediction. By the time congress works up enough momentum to ask for aid with conditions 'again', the Taliban will be back again, we'll see articles about how Islamabad is about to fall and then Gates and Kerry will be back to arguing about how urgent then need for aid is and how the conditions would be counter productive. And the drama continues. Pakistan benefits by tottering on the edge. How can you ask them to remove the conditions that enable them to sustain that?
    Last edited by chankya; 12 May 09, at 23:30.
    "Of all the manifestations of power, restraint impresses men the most." - Thucydides

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by chankya View Post
    Added Later: I see no real incentive for the PA actually. In their experience they got massive largess to fight the Soviets. That tap dried when the Soviets left. Now the tap is open again. To actually defeat the Taliban would be counterproductive for them. They'd lose the money and the leverage against their neighbors. So why should the PA fight?

    Let me make a wild prediction. By the time congress works up enough momentum to ask for aid with conditions 'again', the Taliban will be back again, we'll see articles about how Islamabad is about to fall and then Gates and Kerry will be back to arguing about how urgent then need for aid is and how the conditions would be counter productive. And the drama continues. Pakistan benefits by tottering on the edge. How can you ask them to remove the conditions that enable them to sustain that?
    Completely agree on that. In the own words of a Pakistani journalist, Pakistan has the habit of negociating with a pistol on its head. Attention whores.

  11. #26
    Professor (retired) Senior Contributor Merlin's Avatar
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    Has anybody watched this program?

    CBS Pro-Drone Propaganda

    NEW YORK - May 12 - On May 10, CBS's 60 Minutes presented a remarkably one-sided report on unmanned Air Force drones firing missiles into Afghanistan and Iraq. Though the drones have been criticized for killing civilians in both countries, CBS viewers heard from no critics of the weapons.

    Instead, correspondent Lara Logan seemed awed by the drones from the very start of the broadcast: "Every so often in the history of war, a new weapon comes along that fundamentally rewrites the rules of battle. This is a story about a revolution in unmanned aviation that is doing just that." She described the drones as "hunting down insurgents, every minute of every day," and as "one of the most important planes in the United States Air Force."

    Viewers were told that CBS was getting special access: "Many of the details of this weapons program are classified, but our 60 Minutes team was given secret clearance and unprecedented access to bring you this story." The report relied entirely on pilots and the Air Force chief of staff.

    The closest the segment came to airing any criticism at all was when Logan asked one pilot, Lt. Col. Chris Gough, about his confidence in the targeting of the missile attacks: "What if you get it wrong?" Logan asked. "We don't," Gough replied, before finally admitting that it's "a tough question.... We have the resources to make sure we're right." ....

  12. #27
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Al Qaeda recruits back in Europe, but why?
    Four men say their training experience in Pakistan wasn't what they hoped for. Anti-terrorism officials wonder if they're just biding their time, ready to strike in Europe.
    By Sebastian Rotella
    May 24, 2009
    Reporting from Brussels -- Determined to die as martyrs, the French and Belgian militants bought hiking boots and thermal underwear and journeyed to the wilds of Waziristan.

    After getting ripped off in Turkey and staggering through waist-deep snow in Iran, the little band arrived in Al Qaeda's lair in Pakistan last year, ready for a triumphant reception.

    "We were expecting at least a welcome for 'our brothers from Europe' and a warm atmosphere of hospitality," Walid Othmani, a 25-year-old Frenchman from Lyon, recalled during an overnight interrogation in January.

    Instead, the Europeans -- and at least one American -- learned that life in the shadow of the Predator is nasty, brutish and short.

    Wary of spies, suspicious Al Qaeda chiefs grilled the half-dozen Belgians and French. They charged them $1,200 each for AK-47 rifles, ammunition and grenades. They made them fill out forms listing next of kin and their preference: guerrilla fighting, or suicide attacks?

    Then the trainees dodged missile strikes for months. They endured disease, quarrels and boredom, huddling in cramped compounds that defied heroic images of camps full of fraternal warriors.

    "What you see in videos on the Net, we realized that was a lie," Othmani told police. "[Our chief] told us the videos . . . served to impress the enemy and incite people to come fight, and he knew this was a scam and propaganda."

    Disenchantment aside, the accounts of four of the returning militants arrested in Europe combine with intercepts to paint a detailed picture of Al Qaeda's secret compounds. They also reinforce intelligence that a campaign of U.S. Predator drone airstrikes has sown suspicion and disarray and stoked tension with tribes in northwestern Pakistan, anti-terrorism officials say.

    At the same time, the case shows that wily militant leaders still wage war in South Asia and train a flow of foreign recruits. The few trainees from the West remain an urgent concern. At least one American was detected -- a convert to Islam who trained with Al Qaeda in Pakistan during the last year, Western officials say.

    Militant paths from the U.S. and Europe may cross: Prosecutors in Brussels have made a request to interrogate a witness now in the United States who was in Pakistan with the European suspects, a Belgian anti-terrorism official said.

    Police in Europe tracked the group's radicalization and travel with the help of real-time U.S. intercepts that corroborate the confessions, and they exploited the men's reliance on the Internet. Fear of an imminent attack spurred their arrests here in December after Hicham Beyayo, 25, a Belgian just back from Pakistan, sent a troubling e-mail to his girlfriend.

    "I am leaving for an O [operation] and I don't think I will return," Beyayo wrote Dec. 6, according to investigative documents. "My request has been accepted. You will get a video from me to you from the [organization]."

    Beyayo told police that he was boasting to impress his girlfriend. But investigators believe the group may have been groomed for missions at home.

    "They were much more valuable for operations in Europe," said the Belgian anti-terrorism official, who, like others interviewed, requested anonymity because the investigation is continuing. "Al Qaeda does not need Belgians and French to fight in Afghanistan."

    Islamic resistance doesn't come cheap

    Beyayo is about 5-foot-5, chubby and bespectacled. Like the others, he is of North African descent. He grew up in the tough Anderlecht neighborhood of Brussels, and his brothers have done time for robbery and arms trafficking. But he does not have a criminal record. He interspersed college courses with fundamentalist Islam.

    "He is the intellectual of the family," said his lawyer, Christophe Marchand. "He bears no ill will against Belgium. He went to Afghanistan to join an Islamic resistance movement."

    Islamic resistance is expensive. The unemployed Beyayo scrounged together about $5,000 for the trip.

    The Frenchman Othmani, a father of two, had to borrow about $1,000 from his mother, and he spent hundreds on hiking boots, a sleeping bag, thermal underwear and a "big Columbia-brand jacket for the cold."

    The leader was Moez Garsalloui, 42, a Tunisian married to the Belgian widow of a militant who killed Ahmed Shah Massoud, an anti-Taliban warlord, in a suicide bombing two days before the Sept. 11 attacks. The balding, bearded Garsalloui sought recruits among visitors to a radical website run by his wife, who is revered in militant circles.

    It was Garsalloui's first trip to South Asia, but he took advantage of his wife's strong Al Qaeda ties, investigators say. He organized smuggling contacts and met four Belgians and two French in Istanbul in December 2007. He carried a bag full of cash -- about $40,000, according to the confessions.

    Garsalloui went ahead alone, leaving the others to a harsh monthlong trek. Turkish smugglers frightened them by waving a pistol around, charged extra because they were "Arabs," and stole their gear and clothes, claiming it was for charity.

    "They cleaned us out," Othmani recalled. "What they took was for the so-called poor, but evidently it was nothing of the kind."

    Later, the recruits tried to burn their passports "because we all intended to die as martyrs in Afghanistan," Othmani said. But the smugglers confiscated the documents.

    Next came a nocturnal mountain crossing into Iran. The recruits struggled through deep snow. A Belgian's foot turned blue. Beyayo fell repeatedly, dragged along by comrades as he moaned that this was the place where they would die.

    After several men called their mothers from Iran, the group entered Pakistan via Zahedan, an Iranian border town that is a hub for militants and smugglers, the Belgian anti-terrorism official said. As they approached the tribal zone dominated by the Taliban, military patrols looked the other way and diners at a roadside restaurant seemed to know exactly where they were headed.

    Their destination was a village in the Waziristan region about two hours past Bannu. But the reception was nothing like the heyday of the Afghan camps when Westerners, especially converts, got a chance to meet Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden himself.

    Saudi Arabians armed with AK-47s emerged from a mosque looking hostile. They thought the French in particular could be spies, a senior French anti-terrorism official said. Increasing infiltration has contributed to recent captures and killings of militants, investigators say.

    "They thought they would get a hero's welcome because they were Europeans," the Belgian official said. "That was not the case."

    Tensions eased when Garsalloui showed up. But the recruits were kept in a kind of limbo. They had the misfortune of arriving just as U.S. forces unleashed a drone-fired missile barrage that would kill half a dozen veteran Al Qaeda chieftains in 2008. In an e-mail to his wife, Garsalloui said he narrowly escaped a strike that had killed a top Libyan. "I came close to dying," he wrote.

    Fearful of the drones as well as anyone who might spot their hide-outs and pass on information that could lead to missile strikes, the trainees hunkered inside during the day. They moved frequently among crowded, squalid houses shared with local families in mountain hamlets.


    The suspects say they wanted desperately to fight American troops in Afghanistan. To their dismay, the chiefs made them cough up more cash for weapons. They were assigned to train with an Arab group numbering 300 to 500, but spread out in small units for security. Religious and military instruction took place indoors, with firearms and explosives sessions confined to courtyards for secrecy.

    A Saudi chief named Mortez assured the Europeans that they would go to the Afghan front. But idle weeks followed.

    "We were quite angry for different reasons," Beyayo recalled. "We waited and Mortez's promises didn't come true. Life as seven together plus the host family was not always easy. And . . . [Garsalloui] played the little boss and gave us orders."

    Only Garsalloui and a strapping Belgian, who both spoke fluent Arabic, went to Afghanistan as part of a Saudi unit.

    Garsalloui later e-mailed a photo of himself wielding a grenade launcher to his wife. He bragged to comrades that he had killed American soldiers with a bazooka. Investigators are trying to verify the claim.

    Meanwhile, Beyayo and Othmani say they chafed in safe houses, cooking foul meals, cringing during bombardments, getting sick. Beyayo suffered a bout of malaria.

    A slippery character named Amar appeared, worsening the mood.

    "We realized with time that this individual was there to test us, to spy on us," Beyayo recalled.

    "He also gave us a speech according to which we should not dream because we were not ready to fight. . . . The idea of going back to Belgium and France began to form among us. Morale-wise, we were crushed."

    One Belgian stormed out, intent on reaching the nearest city on his own and making his way back to Europe, the Belgian anti-terrorism official said. After hours of hiking through a desolate valley, he realized that it was hopeless and turned back.

    Late last year, Beyayo, Othmani and two others finally came home and into the clutches of police, who had monitored them closely. A central question: the extent of their involvement in terrorist activity.

    Their lawyers insist that they are failed holy warriors.

    "They just weren't tough enough," Marchand said.

    Investigators have doubts. French police point out that the explosives instruction described by Othmani is far more extensive than that received by many previous trainees.

    Police think the Europeans may have exaggerated their haplessness to conceal a dark purpose.

    "We must therefore ask ourselves for what motive someone in [Pakistan] would take such a risk to shelter people who had no goal or usefulness as declared in some interrogations," a French police report concludes.

    Assessing the threat is difficult: Sinister aspects mix with goofy ones. The complaints about malaria, money and disrespect sum up the story. But so does the image of Garsalloui posing with his rocket launcher, eager to kill Americans.

    rotella@latimes.com
    Last edited by troung; 23 May 09, at 22:24.
    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

  13. #28
    Banned tankie's Avatar
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    1.200 for an ak 47 ,, shows what stupid bastards they are ,failed holy warriors my bollocks , more like failed in the brain tossers more like , and hopefully short lived ones
    Last edited by tankie; 24 May 09, at 12:31.

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