Thursday, October 23, 2008


Another military fiasco by the U.S. in Waziristan. American drones fired two missiles into a village madrassa, killing eight students.

The BBC reports on its web site:

"The school, in North Waziristan, is close to the residence of a fugitive Taleban leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, witnesses told the BBC Urdu Service. At least two missiles, reportedly fired by pilotless US drones, hit the school early on Thursday."

Perhaps the U.S. was aiming the missiles at the Taliban leader but that is no consolation to the families of the dead students.

This whole military set of tactics that relies on the use of manned and unmanned aircraft needs to stop. It does more harm than good, and has made ordinary Pakistani villagers into allies of the jihadists and Talibanis.

When Obama is elected, I am hoping that he will put an end to the use of American war planes in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. The dropping of bombs or the firing of missiles from aircraft is notoriously imprecise, and almost always leads to unintended and cruel civilian casualties. It is totally unacceptable.

Writes the BBC:

"Witnesses told the BBC that the missiles destroyed nearly half of the school building in the Dande Darpakhel area near Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal region.

"At least six people were injured in the attack, witnesses say. It is still not clear whether there were any foreign fighters among the dead students or whether it is linked to Mr Haqqani or his son, Sirajuddin.

"Local people have said that most of the injured were local students at the seminary. . . "

"In recent weeks the United States has launched many missile strikes against suspected militant targets in the Afghan border region.

"Washington says the strikes are used against militant targets, but correspondents say that intelligence failures have sometimes led to civilian casualties.

"Figures compiled by the BBC Urdu service show that some 80 people have been killed in a number of suspected US missile strikes in South and North Waziristan region over the past month.

"Earlier in October a suspected pilotless American drone fired missiles in North Waziristan, killing at least six people, Pakistani intelligence officials said."

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