US drones fired a number of missiles against the North Waziristan Agency of Pakistan today, killing at least eight people that officials termed “suspected militants.” The strikes were the third salvo in the week and a half since the death of Osama bin Laden.
The number of strikes would not have been unusual earlier in the year, but after a period of relative calm they suggest the Obama Administration is once again pushing for an escalation against the tribal areas.
The escalation couldn’t come at a worse time for the Pakistani military, which is under growing scrutiny for allowing the US to conduct a raid against Abbottabad unnoticed. The Pakistani military has repeatedly demanded the US stop the drone strikes in recent weeks, and the strikes again give the appearance that they have no control over what the US decides to do.
The drone strikes are likely to be even more controversial going forward as, despite repeated US insistence that Osama bin Laden and others were in Pakistan’s tribal areas, he was found in Abbottabad, not far from the capital city but far from the tribal lands so often under attack.