WikiLeaks Cables Confirm Suspected U.S. Warfare in Pakistan and Yemen

Friday, December 03, 2010
Ali Abdullah Saleh and George W. Bush (photo: White House)
U.S. officials have long denied the existence of American military operations inside Pakistan and Yemen, for fear of upsetting the local Muslim populations. But the recent publication of State Department cables by WikiLeaks proves that U.S. forces have either carried out attacks or directly assisted local militaries in the fight against al-Qaeda and other insurgents.
Regarding Pakistan, the Department of Defense insisted for more than a year that American Special Operations Forces had not been conducting offensive operations inside Pakistan. This proved to be a lie. A classified cable by Anne Patterson, U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, written on October 9, 2009, revealed that American commandoes have been on missions inside Pakistani territory. These have involved helping direct airstrikes using drones or carrying out joint operations with Pakistan’s army against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
WikiLeaks also revealed Washington’s attempts to cover up U.S. air strikes targeting al-Qaeda elements inside Yemen. An American communiqué from January 2010 showed Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh reassuring U.S. General David Petraeus that his government would “continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.” 
Amnesty International insisted for months that it had evidence of the U.S. having carried out a missile strike in south Yemen last December. The target of that attack was an al-Qaeda training camp at al-Ma’jalah, Abyan, which was struck by a cruise missile. Petraeus claimed only a few civilians were killed, but a Yemeni parliamentary investigation found 41 local residents, including 14 women and 21 children, as well as 14 alleged terrorists died in the attack.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
The (Not So) Secret (Anymore) US War in Pakistan (by Jeremy Scahill, The Nation)


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