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Pakistan Drone Program Set to Expand

To complement the military expansion in Afghanistan that President Obama announced Tuesday, it was reveled today that the CIA will expand its drone presence in Pakistan.  The drone program, which is very unpopular in Pakistan, has launched an estimated 80 missile attacks in Pakistan tribal controlled territories killing an estimated 400 enemy fighters.  A US government official says that less than 20 civilians have been killed, but a Pakistani newspaper stated that 687 civilians have been killed by the program since January 2008.

The new strategy, said an unnamed intelligence source—Washington still will not confirm that there are any drone attacks taking place—might expand into Baluchistan, an area outside of Pakistan tribal areas where Afghan Taliban leaders are suspected to be hiding.

Although the drone attacks are unpopular in Pakistan, they enjoy bipartisan support in Congress, and more attacks have been carried out under Obama than were during the Bush presidency.  And the drones are more popular near and in the tribal areas, where resident’s security concerns outweigh any anger over violations of sovereignty.



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