Pakistan Denies Role in Recent US Drone Strikes

Insists They Told US to Stop Using Pakistani Airspace

One day after the deadliest pair of drone strikes of 2012, which killed at least 15 people across South Waziristan, the Pakistani government is denying any involvement, saying it was never consulted at all on the recent strikes.

The US has launched nine drone strikes so far in 2012, down quite a bit from the number in past years, but after a multi-month lull following the November 2011 US attack on Pakistani military bases, the program appears to be back in full force.

Incredibly, the Pakistani government is also claiming that they have warned the US to stop using their airspace to carry out strikes, with Ambassador Sherry Rehman saying that they informed the US of this position on March 9, likely following the March 9 strikes that killed 13 people.

It appears not to have taken long for the US to reject this “warning,” as only four days later the drones were attacking again. It is possible that the warnings are simply play-acting by a Pakistani government that has long silently endorsed the program. This is particularly politically dangerous now, however, with massive anti-US rallies taking place.

Yet the alternative, that the warning was a serious demand for the US to stop using its airspace, isn’t much better for the ruling party, since it is clear that warning is not being taken credibly. Either way, the continued strikes are a major threat to both US acceptability in the nation and the Pakistani Peoples Party’s hope for reelection next year.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.