US Wants to Expand Drone Strikes Into Major Pakistani City

Officials: 'Real Discussion' of Attacking Quetta

by Jason Ditz, December 13, 2009

Top US officials say there is a “real discussion” going on right now about launching drone attacks against the Balochistan capital city of Quetta. The comments are the latest in a series of threats against the city, one of Pakistan’s largest.

Though the Pakistani government has looked the other way and even provided behind the scenes support for the various US drone attacks against Pakistan’s tribal areas, officials say a strike on Quetta would be a deal-breaker.

“We are not a banana republic,” one official declared, adding that a US attack on Quetta “might be the end of the road.” Pakistan’s military has likewise repeatedly warned against attacks on the city.

The US threats are ostensibly designed to counter the Quetta Shura, a group of Afghan exiles supposedly running much of the insurgency from the city. Pakistan has repeatedly denied that the Shura even exists, though on Friday Defense Minister Ahmad Mukhtar insisted that security forces had degraded them to the point they no longer pose a real threat.

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