At least four children were killed today in addition to 20 other “suspected militants” in a series of four US drone strikes against sites tied to the Haqqani militant group in North Waziristan, part of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
The attacks destroyed three homes in North Waziristan as well as a car. The children were in a home near one of the targeted homes which was also damaged in the blast. The US has launched a number of drone strikes over the past several days, but there has been no indication that any “high value” targets were killed and most of the dead appear to be local tribesmen who are nominally affiliated with militant factions.
The deaths of civilians have been a serious problem over the long-term in Pakistan, with estimates of over 700 civilians killed in 2009 and large (though as yet unclear) numbers killed this year. Today’s killings were the second time in a few weeks that a house full of children ended up taking the force of a US attack.
Which is a major, but rarely mentioned, factor in the repeated threats by the militant factions in the region to attack US targets abroad. Groups like the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) sprang from factions of local tribes which suddenly became targets in Pakistan’s US-demanded offensives, and as the US has killed large numbers of their tribesmen, the attacks have spread not just throughout Pakistan but look poised to go global.