By Keith Jones
28 October 2008
US forces mounted a Predator drone missile attack Monday on a house in Mandata Raghzai, a village in Pakistan’s South Waziristan region, killing as many as 20 people.
The Pentagon has refused to confirm the attack. But Pakistani officials have claimed most of those killed were militants from the Pakistani Taliban—the armed opposition that has developed in Pakistan’s Pashtun-speaking tribal belt to the US occupation of Afghanistan and the associated attempt of Pakistan’s central government to exert greater authority over the country’s historically autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
According to an article published on the New York Times’ website Sunday evening and based on unattributed discussions with US and Pakistani officials, the US has mounted a minimum of 18 Predator missile strikes in FATA since August. Monday’s attack would make the tally at least 19.
Many have slaughtered civilians. “The increasing attacks by US drones have caused anger and frustration among tribesmen,” reported the Dawn October 24. The Dawn report cited a leaflet that quoted a tribal leader as saying jirga or tribal council members are “disappointed over intermittent drone attacks, resulting in the killing of innocent tribesmen.”
The White House subsequently let it be known that in July US President George W. Bush had secretly authorized US Special Forces to carry out operations inside Pakistan without Islamabad’s approval—an act that under international law is tantamount to a declaration of war.
Drugs and the Pakistani military
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