Friday, April 22, 2011

US Drone Strikes Kill 25 in Pakistan | US to Begin Drone Strikes in Libya

Two U.S. pilotless aircraft fired four missiles into a house in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Friday killing 25 militants, Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The strike came two days after a visit to Islamabad by Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military official, in which he expressed concern over links between Pakistani security agents and militants attacking U.S.-led forces across the border in Afghanistan.

According to AFP the strikes inflame anti-US feeling, which is already running high after the January killing of two Pakistani men in a busy Lahore street by a US embassy official later revealed to be working for the CIA.

Last month's US drone attack led Pakistani civilian and military leaders to publicly protest the civilian casualties, although the drone campaign is believed to operate with the tacit consent of the government.

Missile attacks doubled last year, with more than 100 drone strikes killing over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009, according to an AFP tally.

Additional Resource: The Long War Journal has a chart of US airstrikes in Pakistan from 2004 - 2011

US to begin drone strikes in Libya

The US announced it will begin using armed drones against forces loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, raising further concerns about "mission creep" in Libya after a trio of European powers also decided this week to send military advisers to train the rebels. Sen. John McCain called the rebels "heroes" on a surprise visit to Benghazi today.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said Thursday evening that President Obama had approved the use of drones for strikes against Col. Qaddafi's forces and defense positions. The announcement marks the United States' return to a direct combat role in the Libyan conflict, which had ceased when the US handed control of Libya operations to NATO in early April, according to the Los Angeles Times.

AFSC Statement on Libya
“We believe that it is morally unacceptable to allow military tactics to lead our response to human crises. The current foreign military assault on Libya is a step in the wrong direction, one that may lead the country to further instability, human suffering, and protracted violent conflict.“

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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