Two separate American drone strikes in Pakistan reportedly killed about eight senior militants belonging to the Taliban. Though the reports can’t be verified at the moment, Pakistani intelligence officials are already confident about the incident.
Pakistani security officials are pretty sure that two drones belonging to the United States have fired precision missiles at suspected militant hideouts in North West Pakistan. They are positive that eight Taliban militants have been killed in the attacks. Use of drones is quite unpopular in Pakistan, and the government has officially decried them.
Fearing a backlash over the use of drones, the American military — which has an active presence in the region — has never publicly commented on its drone policy in Pakistan. Nonetheless, drone strikes have been an extremely effective technique that has successfully wiped out many senior Pakistani Taliban commanders in the past.
These drone strikes are quite effective, and moreover, they significantly curtail collateral damage and loss of civilian life. It is widely believed that drones were extensively used to monitor and subsequently execute Al Qaeda’s senior-most leader, Osama Bin Laden.
Sources have indicated that both of the latest air strikes took place in Pakistan’s remote North Waziristan region, targeting Uzbek and Punjabi Taliban hideouts. Areas along Pakistan’s porous border with Afghanistan are home to a range of domestic and foreign militants. For quite some time, authorities have been under increasing pressure to step up their activities to eliminate the insurgents who cross into Afghanistan and stage attacks there.
Incidentally, the attacks took place in the same area where the Pakistani army has been mounting an air-and-ground operation against Pakistani Taliban, but for some reason, drone strikes aren’t a favored option.
Nevertheless, Pakistan has stepped up operations against the Taliban in response to a school massacre on December 16, in which more than 130 children were killed. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced the establishment of fast-track military courts deployed specifically for terror-related cases so that accelerated trials can be held. Moreover, he has also lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty, reinstating it for terrorism-related cases.
At this point, Pakistan is quite tight lipped about its operations. The efficacy of its moves is quite unclear, since independent journalists are not allowed in North Waziristan, the hotbed of militant activity in Pakistan. Nonetheless, security officials confirmed that they plan to execute around 500 militants in the coming weeks.
Though Pakistan isn’t openly happy about the drone strikes, it has now become imperative to snuff out the rampant terrorist activity in the region.
[Image Credit | Thir Khan/AFP/Getty Images, Athar Khan/Express Tribune, Drone Wars]