Counter-Terrorism: The Return Of Death From Above

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January 20, 2012: After a two month halt UAV missile attacks in Pakistan resumed on January 10th, when four Islamic terrorists were killed by a missile launched from an American UAV over North Waziristan. Three of the four men killed were described as Arabs. One was later identified as Aslam Awan, senior al Qaeda leader who was in charge of external operations (planning attacks against the West). The next day, two cars, driving towards the Afghan border, were hit in the same area. Six men, all described as "foreigners" were killed. As a result, tribesmen in general and Islamic terrorists in particular in North Waziristan were quite angry. Many fired at the UAVs. But this was futile, as the UAVs generally stayed out of small arms range. As many as six UAVs were seen over North Waziristan at the same time in the last week.

The U.S. has announced that it would resume UAV operations if there were a valuable enough target. Considering that nine of the ten men killed in these two attacks were not from Pakistan, and at least one was a senior al Qaeda man, would indicate that they were considered high-value targets. The U.S. had halted UAV attacks because of a friendly fire incident on November 25th that left 25 Pakistani soldiers dead. The Pakistani army, under fire for corruption and incompetence, used that as an opportunity to act belligerent towards the United States.

Last year, there were about 75 UAV missile attacks, killing some 600 people. In the last eight years, there have been over 300 such attacks, killing over 2,000 people.

 


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