Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reviewing Drone Strikes in Pakistan

Pakistan is now wanting the US to stop drone strikes into the tribal areas. I think the reason for this not the high civilian casualties as even the Pakistanis have been reporting very few civilian casualties from these strikes. The Pakistanis know the US is going to start pulling out of Afghanistan next year and are again trying to position themselves as the protectors of the Taliban movement. To stay in power the Pakistanis will try co-opt the various jihadi groups and turn their attention to India. The best way to do this is to continue to fund them and then be able to show them they protected them from the drone strikes which has taken a toll on mid and senior level commanders. Also the US has focused heavily on the Haqqani network in the Datta Khel area of North Waziristan and in Afghanistan. The drone strikes have almost killed the senior members of the Haqqani group on several occasions. The Haqqanis are loyal to the Pakistani government and the Pakistanis need them for influence in Afghanistan so the Pakistanis want them as strong as possible. To do this the Haqqanis need a relatively safe sanctuary which the drones do not give them. A strong Haqqani presence in Pakistan and Afghanistan gives the Pakistan military a strong influence on both sides of the border. A unstable Afghanistan actually gives Pakistan strategic depth against India which the Pakistani still view as their main enemy not the jihad movements in their own borders. Sadly the only way to keep Southwest Asia stable is for US forces in some form or another to be in Afghanistan for a very long time.

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