Flurry of Drone Strikes Sets Stage for US Escalation in Pakistan in 2013

Six More Killed in Attacks on North Waziristan

by Jason Ditz, January 10, 2013

10 days into 2013, the US has made it clear that the minor decline in the number of drone strikes in 2012 was a fluke, launching its seventh distinct strike of the new year, killing six more unnamed “suspects.”

Today’s attack saw missiles fired into a house and at a nearby motorcycle, killing the two on the bike and four others in the house. None of the victims were named, and officials said the bodies were all badly mutilated, making identification virtually impossible.

Officials say that the administration is planning a dramatic escalation into 2013 and 2014, citing a “sense of urgency” about the planned drawdown of troops from occupied Afghanistan, apparently believing that they can make up for troop cuts by launching more drone strikes into Pakistan.

Of over 40 victims in 2013 drone strikes so far, only one, Maulvi Nazir, has been formally named. Officials also hinted that another of the slain may have been a relative of Hakimullah Mehsud, though since the Mehsud tribe is about 100,000 people, this doesn’t necessarily narrow things down much.

This hit-and-miss identification is roughly on par with how things have gone in the past several years of US attacks, and with CIA officials predicting a drawdown in Afghanistan even as the attacks in Pakistan escalate, the reliability of the already dicey intelligence behind such attacks appears set to get much, much worse.

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