After nearly a decade of growing anti-US sentiment in Pakistan centering almost entirely on America’s illegal drone war against the country’s tribal areas, aerial drones have gotten a really bad reputation in the country. Not bad enough, however, as Pakistan launched its first home-grown drone strike today against the Shawal Valley of North Waziristan.
The Pakistani military first claimed to have produced armed drones back in March, but this is the first time they launched a strike of their own with a drone. Major Gen. Asim Bajwa, the military’s spokesman, claimed all three slain were “high-profile terrorists.”
But in a sign that the Pakistani military is following America’s example, the “high-profile terrorists” were left totally unnamed, and indeed local officials simply referred to the slain as “suspects” offering no evidence as to them being involved in anything.
If anything, the shift from US to Pakistani drones may be even worse news for civilians in the tribal areas, as the Pakistani military has a tendency to go for gaudy kill counts in their normal airstrikes, and seems no more interested than the US is in asking questions about who they actually kill, leaving everyone as anonymous “militants” forever.