Since taking office, the Obama Administration has dramatically escalated the number and severity of the US drone attacks inside Pakistan. American missiles hit homes in the North and South Waziristan agencies at an alarming rate now, and officials have often spoke of launching even more attacks and expanding the attacks into refugee camps in Pakistan’s largest province of Balochistan. There are signs this may be changing, however.
As the Pakistani public’s opinion of the United States has soured with the growing number of civilian deaths, officials are conceding that the damage done to the credibility of Pakistan’s government and America’s role as an ally far outweigh whatever ostensible damage the attacks have caused to al-Qaeda. Sources say that the Administration policy is now being “re-evaluated.”
How much damage the US strikes are actually doing to al-Qaeda are also very much in doubt. Most of the dead have been tribesmen, but of the foreigners reported killed, a November attack on Rashid Rauf was one of the few high profile targets. Even then, Rauf was blamed for a plot in Manchester, England, nearly six months later, and officials now concede “there is nothing definitely to say he’s actually dead.”