U.S. Hits Pakistan with First Drone Attacks in almost 6 Months

Friday, June 13, 2014
Pakistani villager holds crashed alleged U.S. drone (photo: Shah Khalid, AP)

The United States had gone nearly six months without launching a drone strike against militants in Pakistan. But the assaults earlier this week on the Karachi airport appeared to galvanize American officials into taking military action once again inside the country.

Missile attacks launched from drones occurred on consecutive days in North Waziristan, where the Pakistani Taliban has operated for years.

 

Those militants and fighters from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed responsibility for the back-to-back attacks on the airport in Karachi, where 36 people were killed, including 10 gunmen.

 

Presumably in response to the attacks, the U.S. hit suspected militants on June 11 and 12 in two different locations, Miramshah and Dande Darpa Khel. The latter was the site of a notorious U.S. drone strike on September 8, 2008 that killed 23 people, including eight children, as well as other strikes since then.

 

The latest airstrikes reportedly killed a total of 16 people in North Waziristan. Before these attacks, the U.S. had not launched a lethal drone mission in the country since Christmas Day, when an attack killed three or four people in Qutab Khel, a village south of Miranshah.

 

The six-month lull in drone strikes came at the request of the Pakistani government, which started peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban last fall.

-Noel Brinkerhoff

 

To Learn More:

Pakistani Officials Report the First U.S. Drone Strikes in Six Months (by Haq Nawaz Khan, Washington Post)

Drone Strike in Pakistan Days after Airport Attack, Sources Say (by Holly Yan and Sofia Saifi, CNN)

Drone Wars Pakistan: Analysis (New America Foundation)

Majority of CIA Drone Attacks in Pakistan Hit Homes (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Total Drone Deaths in Pakistan Top 2,000 (by Steve Straehley, AllGov)

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