US resumes unmanned aircraft strikes in Pakistan

An American unmanned aerial vehicle strike that killed four Islamist militants in Pakistan Jan. 10 marks the resumption of what was an established pattern of U.S. intelligence and military operations in the region until an incident in November brought about a halt to such attacks, reports the Associated Press.

The most recent UAV strike occurred in North Waziristan, an al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold near the Afghan border, AP said. The strike marked the end of the longest pause in the so-called UAV war in Pakistan since the offensive began in 2009. That pause occurred in the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in November 2011 that killed two dozen Pakistan troops at border outposts.

The end of the two-month-long hiatus in which the United States refrained from UAV strikes while it tried to soothe relations between the two countries suggests little will actually stop the drone war, writes Spencer Ackerman at Wired's Danger Room blog.

Overall, 2011 was a very bad year for American-Pakistan relations, the blog states. In some situations in the past, Pakistan has issued empty threats to get the U.S. to back off from UAV strikes within its borders. However, in the wake of the November incident it closed logistics routes vital to U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan and told the United States to leave Shamsi Air Base in the southwestern Baluchistan province where technicians were able to service the UAVs. 

The UAV strikes are not a supplement to the global war against terrorism; rather, they are the centerpiece to how the Obama administration pursues and eliminates militants who pose a threat to U.S. interests and forces, the blog states.

The lull in strikes that followed the November incident gave al-Qaeda and Pakistani militant groups a chance to regroup and press their own attacks against Pakistani security forces and plot further attacks against allied forces in Afghanistan, the New York Times reported last week. During the lull Pakistani militants reported hearing UAVs on reconnaissance missions, but they did not fear lethal strikes, one militant told the newspaper.

Defense Systems Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

Terms and Privacy Policy consent

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.