WASHINGTON, Feb 8: The United States wants to continue drone strikes inside Pakistan’s tribal areas because US military experts believe the strikes have killed a large number of Al Qaeda leaders and local militants and have destroyed their hideouts.
A US account of the strikes, conveyed to Pakistan and obtained by Dawn, depicts a picture which is very different from the public perception in Pakistan that the strikes only kill innocent civilians and children.
The document includes information conveyed to Washington by US military officials in Afghanistan about more than a dozen drone attacks carried out by US unmanned aircraft since December 2007.
The document identifies militant leaders as HVT or high value targets.
According to this document, on Dec 3, 2007, a Predator strike injured Shaykh Issa al-Masri in Jani Khel, Bannu.
On Jan 28, 2008, a Predator killed HVT Abu Layth Al-Libi and associates in Salam Kot, North Waziristan.
On Feb 27, 2008, a drone killed foreign Al Qaeda trainees. On March 16, 2008, more Al Qaeda trainees were killed. The document does not identify those killed in these attacks and does not reveal the places hit by the drones.
On May 14, 2008, a Predator killed HVT Abu Sulayman Al-Jazairi and associates in Damadola, Bajaur.
On July 28, 2008, a Predator strike killed HVT Abu Khabab Al-Masri and other Al Qaeda activists.
On Aug 12, 2008, a Predator killed foreign fighters and militants associated with HVT Usama Al-Kini and commander Nazir.
On Aug 20, 2008, a drone killed and injured multiple foreign Al Qaeda members and local associates, including some Haqqani network associates. An Al Qaeda facilitator Haji Yacoub was injured.
On Aug 27, 2008, a Predator attempted to target an Al Qaeda-associated meeting but missed target. It did not cause collateral damage.
On Aug 30, 2008, a Predator strike killed Al Qaeda paramilitary operatives subordinate to Al Qaeda commander and East Africa Embassy bomber Usama Al Kini.On Aug 31, 2008, a Predator killed several Al Qaeda operatives, including two prominent Al Qaeda paramilitary commanders.
On Sept 2, 2008, a Predator killed four to 10 persons associated with Al Qaeda commander and logistician Abu Wafa Al Saudi.
On Sept 4, 2008, a Predator strike killed Abu Wafa Al Saudi.
On Sept 8, 2008, a Predator killed several Haqqani sub-commanders and a number of Arabs. Members of the extended Haqqani family were killed.
On Sept 11, 2008, a Predator killed 10 to 15 militants associated with Al Qaeda facilitator Qari Imran’s training camp.
On Sept 17, 2008, a Predator killed 4-6 militants delivering rockets to a militant camp near the Afghan border and probably HVT Abu Ubaydh Al Tunisi.