Sunday, April 29, 2012

U.S. Resumes Pakistan Drone Strikes

On Sunday, the U.S. confirmed it had kill three militants in Pakistan's tribal region.  This is the first attack since the Pakistani parliament demanded an end to U.S. drone strikes and an official apology for the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border outpost in November.  The militants killed were believed to be Punjabi Taliban who were working with the Haqqani network.  They are also believed to have been involved in the April 15 attacks on Kabul and two other cities.  They were killed by a drone strike on an abandoned school building being used as a base of operations by Al Qaeda, the Haqqani network, and Pakistan Taliban.  The U.S. is refusing to backdown on it's drone strikes while Pakistan still dawdles in it's efforts to root our extremists within it's borders.

Early last week, President Obama sent a top regional official to Islamabad to discuss the re-opening of NATO supply routes, military aid, and the future of drone strikes.  The U.S. would like to see the supply routes re-opened, along with an acceptance of drone strikes.  It is costing the U.S. millions of dollars extra to use alternative supply routes.  Sunday's drone strike illustrates the attitude this administration has towards Pakistan, sovereignty, and rooting out extremists.  It sends a strong and clear message that the U.S. cannot respect Pakistani sovereignty while the Pakistani's are unwilling to protect their OWN sovereign territory.  Pakistan must realize that such demands are foolish.

A question raised from the continued drone strikes on Pakistan and the tribal regions is that are we going to see a long-term engagement in the area consisting mainly of drone strikes?  Could the ungoverned regions turn into a 25 year conflict of drone strikes, militant movement, more drone strikes?  There seems to be no shortage of militants and no shortage of drones and missiles.  The Pakistani government must do more to secure the region so that it does not devolve into such a protracted conflict.

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