Drone attacks boost extremism

Published on 23 February 2012 in Opinion
Editorial / Gulf News (author)

Editorial / Gulf News


Despite numerous warnings, threats and protests, the US continues its missile attacks in Pakistan. The latest on Thursday killed the most senior Pakistani in Al-Qaeda, Badar Mansour. According to one estimate, more than 200 such missile attacks have been made since 2009 in Pakistan's tribal belt.

US President Barack Obama recently defended the use of unmanned aircraft to kill Al-Qaeda operatives and other militants in Pakistan's tribal areas. In the process, he officially acknowledged the highly classified CIA drone program that US officials had refused to discuss in public until now.

Obama said the drone program was a "targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists". But the fact remains that hundreds of civilians, including more than 60 children, have been killed in drone attacks since Obama took office.

The US cannot justify or brush aside the killing of innocent civilians on the pretext of targeting militants in another country.

Also, the attacks have been found to be counter-productive, promoting an extremist mood in the region. Unlawful and a blatant violation of the sovereignty of a country, the attacks have only provided fodder to the militants to attract more people to their ranks.

If the US is really keen on promoting peace in the region and talking to the Taliban, it must stop these attacks.