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article imageOp-Ed: In Pakistan two US drone strikes kill 9 including tribal leader

By Ken Hanly     Jan 3, 2013 in World
Islamabad - The strikes were in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. The leader, Mullah Nazir, is a commander linked to the Afghan Taliban according to Pakistani intelligence officials.
Six people, including Nazir, were reported killed in a strike in South Waziristan. A second strike further north killed three more persons. Nazir had a truce with the Pakistan government. The anonymous Pakistani officials said that a US drone fired two missiles at Nazir's home. An Al Jazeera reporter said:"The attack by a US drone late last night targeted a house in the An-goor Adda area in South Waziristan on the Afghan border.Mullah Nazir was among those killed. The strike happened at a time when the US wants to talk with the Taliban... this is a major setback."
This targeted killing, if it actually happened, is somewhat strange since Nazir had a peace deal with Islamabad since 2007. This caused bad blood between his group and Taliban who are fighting against the Pakistani government. However, Nazir was said to be close to the alleged Al Qaeda-linked Haggani network. The Haggani group has been responsible for some of the most dramatic attacks in Afghanistan, especially in Kabul. A Pakistani official also claimed that two of Nazir's deputies were also killed in the strike. Perhaps the US thinks that continued drone attacks will give them a stronger say in any deal. More likely, it will stoke a desire for revenge and sabotage any peace deal.
The other strike was in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border. A vehicle was struck in the village of Mubarak Shahi in North Waziristan. An Al Jazeera reporter said:"There has been no confirmation of the exact target in the northern Waziristan strike... but that region has received the highest intensity of strikes." The attack was confirmed by another official in Peshawar but neither official knew the identity of the persons killed.
The drone strikes are regularly condemned by Pakistani government officials. Just as regularly, they issue denials that there is a covert agreement to the strikes. The parliament has passed several resolutions demanding that the strikes end. However, they continue.
The legal lobby group, Reprieve, estimates that between June 2004 and September 2012 from 2,582 to 3,325 have been killed by drone attacks in Pakistan. Of those, between 474 and 881 were civilians. Often important militant leaders are said to be killed only to turn up alive. This may be so in this case, as the US has not been able to confirm the killing of Nazir as yet. Nevertheless, as is shown by the appended video, major networks report the killing as fact. This is all grist for the Pentagon propaganda mill and helps manufacture consent for the drone program.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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