Pakistani security officials report that five CIA operated drones working together killed at least 18 in South Waziristan early this morning. According to AFP up to 10 missiles were fired “into the sprawling compound in the Baber Ghar area” of South Waziristan.
The location is less than two miles from the border with Afghanistan’s Paktia province. One of the regions in Afghanistan where the US troop surge has been deployed.
Last week a spokesman for the governor in Paktia reported that between 60-70 people had been killed when a NATO/Afghan base was attacked.
In October the New York Times ran a profile of the province from an embedded reporter that talked about a border war.
U.S. officials have never publicly acknowledged drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas but have anonymously confirmed such strikes to various news outlets.
Pakistan has condemned the strikes as a violation of its sovereignty, but they are believed to be carried out with the help of Pakistani intelligence.
A survey released yesterday by the Asia Foundation notes the following attitudes towards international forces.
“The majority of respondents say they would have some level of fear voting in a national election (57%), participating in a peaceful demonstration (66%), running for a public office (63%), traveling from one part of Afghanistan to another part of the country (75%) and encountering international forces (76%). However, more than half of respondents say they would have no fear participating in resolving problems in their communities (59%) or encountering officers of the Afghan National Army (ANA) (55%) or Afghan National Police (ANP) (51%).”
How the CIA Became A Killing Machine
Killing Our Citizens Without Trial
David Cole has a piece in the New York Review of Books exploring additional issues in the use of drones and the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. He begins with a provocative question.
When can the president order the execution without trial of an American citizen?
Benjamin Wittes writing in Lawfare unpacks the issue from a slightly different perspective.