While today’s drone attack on South Waziristan Agency underscored the Obama Administration’s eagerness to continue hitting militants inside Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the long-reported calls to attack Balochistan are being met with far more controversy.
Proponents say that much of the Taliban’s top leadership has taken up residence in and around the Baloch capital of Quetta. However the concern is that, while Pakistan has secretly backed the FATA strikes, they have managed to drive the ill-controlled mountainous hinterland into a constant state of opposition to the central government. The much larger Balochistan province, already struggling with a growing separatist movement, could hardly bare the repeatedly US bombardment the Waziristan agencies have, nor is Pakistan likely to stand aside while one of its major cities is attacked. The provincial governor is already warning that the situation could rapidly wind up out of control.
What’s more the Taliban are believed to be staying in the Afghan refugee camps around Quetta, and while it’s hardly without precedent, American planes attacking a camp teeming with innocent civilian refugees of an American war would be, to quote one former State Department official, “a real human rights controversy.”