Drone strikes pounding North Waziristan are nothing new, but yesterday’s attack in North Waziristan, which was reported to have killed a Haqqani Network figure named Jamil, is actually of greater significance, officials say.
The attack was meant to “send a signal,” they warn, about the Obama Administration’s decision to take a “more aggressive approach” toward the Haqqanis, who they have blamed for virtually every major recent attack in Afghanistan.
Of course the US has already been killing hundreds annually in attacks on North and South Waziristan, but the officials say the new attacks will focus on more densely populated areas in North Waziristan, like the agency capital of Miramshah.
In addition to becoming the latest military target for occupation forces in Afghanistan, the Haqqani Network has been a source of growing tension with the Pakistani government, as the US has accused the Pakistani military of secretly running the network. The attacks are aimed at this allegation too, or so officials say.
The hope is that the US escalation will convince the Pakistani government to give up on the Haqqani Network and throw its support entirely behind the US. It is difficult to imagine it will work that way, but like many US escalations, the assumption among officials is that it will be a transformative move.