Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Play books for drones?

Published Jan 23, 2013 12:55pm


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Pakistan will take up the issue of drone attacks on its territory with the US ambassador in Islamabad as well as other officials in Washington, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said on Jan 23.

She said "so far only media reports suggested that the CIA had been allowed to continue drone strikes inside Pakistan, but if reports about the US Congress giving blanket powers to the CIA were correct, the matter would be raised with the United States at all levels”.

A day earlier, Pakistani senators had deplored a US bill allowing more drone strikes inside Pakistan.

The Obama administration is completing a counterterrorism manual that will establish clear rules for operations involving targeted killings. The guidebook would contain a major exemption for the CIA’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan.

Earlier in Sept 2012, a report commissioned by Reprieve had estimated that between 474 to 881 civilians were among 2,562 to 3,325 people killed by drones in Pakistan between June 2004 and Sept 2012.

The legality of US-led strikes has been questioned on various fora by the country's political leadership and the matter had also been raised by the UN human rights chief who had demanded in June 2012 a UN investigation into the drone strikes.

To quote questions from a recently published editorial: “Pakistan, as the Post reports, will be excluded from the new rules being developed for at least a year and perhaps up to two years. Why? “Imposing the playbook standards on the CIA campaign in Pakistan would probably lead to a sharp reduction in the number of strikes at a time when Obama is preparing to announce a drawdown of US forces from Afghanistan that could leave as few as 2,500 troops in place after 2014,” according to the Post. This is a remarkable admission and essentially makes clear that drones are being used to satisfy political timetables of the US. Concerned that post-2014 the regional environment may not permit as many strikes, could the US be rushing through strikes in Pakistan that more measured decisions would veto? That possibility is all the more stark given that the new rules will be immediately implemented in Yemen and Somalia. Is the Obama administration claiming that what’s good enough for Yemen and Somalia is somehow a bar too high when it comes to Fata?”

“Equally troubling is that the architect of the ‘play book’ will be the next director of the CIA. In effect, John Brennan has exempted the organisation he will lead from implementing the very rules he has authored when it comes to Pakistan. The Post story notes, “Senior (US) administration officials have expressed unease with the scale and autonomy of the CIA’s lethal mission in Pakistan.” Why the unease?”


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Comments (33) Closed

G.A. Jan 23, 2013 01:51pm
Drones used to fly from a Pakistani airfield until the Salala attack. It all came into the open that the Pakistani government has been complicit throughout. That the base was owned by the UAE is a pathetic excuse. No other country would allow such nonsense. Not even a banana republic.
HNY2013 Jan 23, 2013 01:43pm
A report commissioned by legal lobby group Reprieve in September last year estimated that between 474 to 881 civilians were among 2,562 to 3,325 people killed by drones in Pakistan between June 2004 and September 2012. So do the maths, they still took out around 2500 bad guys!
Agha Ata (USA) Jan 23, 2013 01:15pm
Talibans have killed a lot more Pakistani men, women and children inside Pakistan than Americans anywhere. If killing is the crime in question, lets start at home.
Hina Jan 23, 2013 02:05pm
Fighting others war invite people anger and disunity in state.
Palvasha von Hassell Jan 24, 2013 10:04am
PakAm, I am perfectly aware of the living conditions prevalent in the Tribal Areas, so plz. tone down your aggressive rhetoric. I know too, that many families have relatives or friends living and working in settled areas of Pakistan, and that they very well have access to the internet etc. It is they who should take up the task of coming forward on the behalf of their fellows in the Tribal Areas. And that in numbers, for it to have any impact. We all know that legal action is being taken. That should be supported by media presence. It would be interesting to learn if the attempt has been made.
Marina Jan 23, 2013 04:17pm
Drone strikes are much more than counter productive in a sense that innocent civilians are being killed and no compensation is offered to them. In retaliation, the heirs or the only survivor of the family might fall a prey to a third force, who could incite them to avenge for the killings of their beloved through suicide attacks. US fire rockets on few individuals and sit back but it is Pakistanis who face a severe lash back in the form of suicide attacks and bomb blasts.
citizen Jan 23, 2013 04:26pm
would you still do 'the math' if it was only one of your own who perished unjustly by the drones?
John Jan 23, 2013 04:47pm
Collecting money for that war does not?
John Jan 23, 2013 04:49pm
Do the math - how much US paid for each bad guy to Pakistan? and still had to take them out using their drones.
Palvasha von Hassell Jan 23, 2013 04:58pm
I await a comment by someone who has lost family and friends through drone strikes. I'm sure there are many. Don't they comment, can't they,or are their comments not getting through? For others it's all very well to rubbish condemnation of a highly illegal and controversial weapon.
tofunista Jan 23, 2013 06:31pm
A few months ago Obama said "no country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down" on its people and said any effort to resolve the conflict in Gaza "starts with no missiles being fired into Israel's territory." I think this gives the license & rationale for the PAF to bring down drones. Is there no self-respect left in Pak?
Marina Jan 23, 2013 07:36pm
Non of your nobel laureate mathematicians can even calculate the worth of those innocent civilian lives perished by the drones.
PakAm Jan 23, 2013 07:36pm
Palvasha, If you have a chance to visit the areas where drone attacks are being staged you will quickly find your answer. When people have no electricity and basic needs of life how can you expect they are enjoying internet access in front of fireplace in their cozy house.
Rafiq Jan 24, 2013 11:43am
To Palvasha von Hassell, Yes, we are the ones who lost our families and members....they were / are our family members. If an innocent child you think only his parents will feel the grief. Since we are already closer to the "end of time".....such barbaric killings, will be for sure pre-text of the end of Dajjal kabeer = .........(you know what it is equal to).....
Marina Jan 24, 2013 11:36am
Soldiers of either sides are valuable if and only if they are fighting against the terrorism. But why should civilians suffer through this imprecise approach of drones ? To those only survivors the only aim is to avenge, no matter the leader of coalition forces or the non-NATO ally.
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 02:32am
And what if the those bad guys killed had killed one of your family? Wont you be thankful for the drones?
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 02:36am
US made gains both ways, paid the bad guy in Pakistan to take out USSR and now using their military power ( read drone industry making $$$) against the ones they paid to fight. It is all economics sir
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 02:42am
So you mean the terrorist are naive enough not to know who is sending the drones? They can not distinguish between US n Pakistan? Why are they sending suicide bombers to Pakistan ONLY when they know it is US drones? If Innocent people are killed, so are the US/Afgan/Pak solders, I do NOT hear you cry for them. Are they not important lives?
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 02:45am
Yeah right. Wonder when would people understand who is the real enemy
Naeem Malik Jan 24, 2013 01:12pm
But do you know who is letting these drones fly? Some may even be flying from bases within Pakistan. Pakistan's administration has refused to raise it at the UN and according to more reliable sources has even suggested that they do not mind these drone attacks to the US administration in private.
Farooq Ali Jan 24, 2013 04:18am
Both USA and Taliban are waiting for the out come of our coming election only after that they will decide whether to sandwitch innocent Pakistan or not ignoring the fact that we are not a party to their war.
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 01:06pm
Neither can they calculate the threat of number of people those potential terrorists could have killed if they would have been alive. Good riddance
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 01:05pm
You are too melodramatic mam, seen too many movies. Then as per this logic all relatives or survivors or 9/11, 26/11, and in fact survivors of all those pakistanis killed by taliban should also have a sole aim to AVENGE !!! What say?
Naeem Malik Jan 24, 2013 01:05pm
Why is she not taking it up at the UN - That is what Iran did when US Drone violated its airspace, apart from bringing it down. Something wrong with our ruling elite. They lack any backbone.
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 01:01pm
Is that a question or a conclusion sir?
Marina Jan 24, 2013 02:04pm
Losses to our economy, infrastructure, society, foreign investments and to peace and security are much larger than the aid provided. Moreover, do not equate the worth of innocent civilian lives in terms of dollars.
Marina Jan 24, 2013 03:20pm
Thats what we call human psyche, every action has a reaction. United states in reaction to 9/11 proclaimed a War on Terror, Pakistan suspended NATO supply lines after 26/11, so how could you expect the bereaved family members of innocent civilian won't react?
Marina Jan 24, 2013 03:36pm
Oh, i thought these drones are entrusted with the task of killing only the proven terrorists not the 'potential terrorists'. Scientifically all human beings have a violent part of brain. So it means, kill all the 'potentially violent humanity' ???
Marina Jan 24, 2013 03:42pm
And what if those drones had killed one of your family members having no links with the terrorists, won't you protest or retaliate ?
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 04:49pm
No one is forcing you or the government to take AID or LOAN? The people or the government should STOP or RESFUSE it then, is that what you are saying? As per you the whole nation is so shameless that even after so much killings they still want foreign money. Do you even imagine how much has the national reserves been depleted over the years? IMF had given an AID to tide over the previous fiscal deficit, and now it wants austere measure to be taken, before it even thinks of future loans. That means things WILL get way too costly for the common people. If they wont die of drones, then they will die of something else. Loans and aids is not a Luxury anymore, its a compulsion, consequences of which every citizen will have to face.
HNY2013 Jan 24, 2013 04:53pm
Can you calculate what is the worth of the thousands of Pakistanis (Shia-Sunni, Mohazirs, Hazaras) being killed by Pakistanis daily in secretarian voilence? Are those lives not worthy enough or do you want to turn a blind eye to them. Look at things in a broader horizon.
citizen Jan 24, 2013 05:59pm
I would never wish upon anyone to lose their loved ones either by the acts of terrorists or the drones. This drone campaign suites the US because they can sit thousands of miles away and play it more or less like a video game. But we are the ones who will pay the costs in terms of blowbacks. I am not the one who would advocate appeasing the terrorist but I am sure that killing of people should not be reduced to a mere Video game.
floatinguponthissurface Jan 25, 2013 05:33am
I agree with Palvasha. However, I would like to add that media also plays a vital role in it. I have no idea how much of contents are censored and how many stories are unpublished/covered. Had there been any commercial interest in to it with some 'backing', I am sure stories would have poured in from calmer localities with those who have loved ones hit.