Air Chief Marshall Rao Suleiman, the head of Pakistan’s Air Force, today discussed the “lessons” of the past three and a half years of bombing the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).
According to Suleiman, the Air Force flew 5,500 sorties against the FATA since May 2008, and has learned the lesson that knowing what you’re bombing is really important. He even conceded that early on, the Air Force was relying entirely on Google Earth to select targets.
It was only during the summer of 2009, when Pakistan invaded the Swat Valley, that the military actually starting doing its own reconnaissance for identifying camps to potentially bomb.
Unspoken in Suleiman’s comments are that the 5,500 sorties have done essentially nothing, and the FATA are no more under control of the military and the Zardari government now than they were when this round of bombing campaigns, mostly done at the behest of the United States, began.