Obama Urged to Widen Drone Strikes

Strikes in Pakistan's Tribal Areas No Longer Enough: Officials Eye Balochistan Attacks

In the months since he took power, President Barack Obama has escalated the number and severity of drone attacks in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) dramatically. Officials are reportedly no longer satisfied, however, apparently one can only kill so many Wazir tribesmen before setting their sights on bigger game.

Now, top officials are urging Obama to start attacking in other areas as well, and they have their eyes on the area in and around the Balochistan Province’s capital city of Quetta, which they believe is a “major sanctuary” for the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

Beginning to launch drone strikes in Balochistan would have serious ramifications, however. Though the FATA attacks have angered the local populace, the tribal areas are frankly not high priority for most Pakistanis. Balochistan, however, is a proper province, and Quetta is a significant city. If American missiles start raining down on Quetta, the whole nation is likely to take notice, and not in a good way. Such attacks may also rile the Baloch separatist movement, particularly if the national government is no better able to halt them than they are in Waziristan.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.