Over the past ten days or so there have been over a dozen reported drone strikes in Pakistan near the Afghan border. Associated Press reports today (15th Sept) that drone strikes “have killed more than 60 people in 13 strikes since Sept. 2 in the Pakistani region of North Waziristan.” AP based their figures on Pakistani intelligence officials’ reports, other sources put the death toll at 75. Many of the drone strikes have taken place around Datta Khel, a town of about 40,000 people that sits on a strategically vital road to the Afghan border. According to The Guardian, this is the most intense and sustained period of US drone strikes in Pakistan since the US began attacks in Pakistan in 2004, while the Christian Science Monitor says that US drone strikes in Pakistan have now reached 70 this year – a new record.
Many of the news reports on the strikes quote anonymous US intelligence sources saying that the strikes are aimed at the Haqqani Network, a family /tribal network with alleged links to Al Qaeda. None of the reports that I have seen so far remind readers that the US has not declared war on Pakistan and so such strikes are unlawful. In addition such a period of intense bombardment is highly likely to incur civilian casualties and will no doubt lead to further alienation of the Pakistan population.