U.S. Drone Strike Kills 25 In Pakistan
Missles fired by U.S. drone fighters at a home in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan killed at least 25 on Friday, including five women and four children, the BBC reports.
The area has become a focal point of the U.S.’s attempts to attack al-Queda and Taliban militants. Drone raids in the wars in the Middle East have become more frequent under the Obama administration.
The Wall Street Journal, which reports that 26 died in Friday’s strikes, notes the vitriol with which Pakistani locals and officials have responded to the attacks which have killed some senior terrorist leaders but have also killed many civilians. Pakistan is supposed to be an ally of the U.S. in the fight against militants in the region.
WSJ reports on the escalating tensions between Pakistan and the U.S.:
Friday's attack shows how the U.S. remains intent on continuing drone strikes despite Pakistan's protest. Pakistan-U.S. relations sank to a new low this year after Raymond Davis, an American CIA contractor, shot dead two Pakistanis who allegedly tried to rob him in the Pakistani city of Lahore in January.
Mr. Davis, who faced murder charges, was freed last month after the U.S. government paid compensation to the families of the dead men.
Despite the increasingly heated rhetoric, no side wants to break the partnership, which is critical for both allies. While Pakistan depends heavily on American military and financial aid, Washington needs the support of Islamabad to help fight the Taliban in the border areas with Afghanistan.
This comes the same day that the U.S. announced the sale of 85 surveillance drones to Pakistan.
The tensions are getting more and attention with the approach of President Barack Obama’s July deadline to begin a troop drawdown in the Afghanistan conflict.
Reports say that senior U.S. and Pakistani military officials have come to a stalemate over recent drone attacks, with Adm. Mike Mullen openly criticizing Pakistani leadership.
In a series of interviews with the Pakistani media, Mullen made strong and pointed statements criticizing the Pakistani intelligence agency’s support for a group of Afghan insurgents, based in Pakistan and linked to al-Qaeda, who have been responsible for many lethal attacks on U.S. and NATO forces.
Mullen told one newspaper Tuesday that the issue of Pakistan’s reported relationship with the Haqqani network was “at the core” of difficulties between the two governments. He told another newspaper Wednesday that “it is the Haqqani network which is killing Americans across the border” and that his main concern in Pakistan was going after Haqqani and al-Qaeda.
Mullen’s unusually aggressive comments reflected the increasing tension between U.S. and Pakistani security agencies in the past several months, partly over the CIA drone attacks, which are highly controversial in Pakistan, and partly over revelations of U.S. spying activities, which were highlighted by the case of Raymond Davis, a CIA contractor who was accused of killing two Pakistani men in January.
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