Lull in US drone strikes in Pak helping militants
Washington: A nearly two-month pause in US drone strikes in Pakistan has helped al Qaeda and several other militant factions in the country to regroup as well as increase their attacks against allied forces in Afghanistan, analysts have said.
The Central Intelligence Agency, hoping to avoid making matters worse with Pakistan, has not conducted a drone strike since mid-November.
Diplomats and intelligence analysts said the lull in CIA missile strikes, the longest in Pakistan in more than three years, is offering for now greater freedom of movement to an insurgency that had been splintered by in-fighting and battered by American drone attacks in recent months, The New York Times reports.
“It makes sense that a lull in US operations, coupled with ineffective Pakistani efforts, might lead the terrorists to become complacent and try to regroup,” the paper quoted an American official, as saying.
“We know that Al Qaeda’s leaders were constantly taking the U.S. counterterrorism operations into account, spending considerable time planning their movements and protecting their communications to try to stay alive,” the official added.
C Christine Fair, an assistant professor at Georgetown University who just returned from a month in Pakistan, put it more bluntly, saying the insurgents are ‘taking advantage of the respite. It allows them to operate more freely’.
Meanwhile, several administration officials said that any lull in drone strikes did not signal a weakening of the country’s counterterrorism efforts, suggesting that strikes could resume soon.
“Without commenting on specific counterterrorism operations, Al Qaeda is severely weakened, having suffered major losses in recent years. But even a diminished group of terrorists can pose danger, and thus our resolve to defeat them is as strong as ever,” said George Little, a Defense Department spokesman.
Over all, drone strikes in Pakistan dropped to 64 last year, compared with 117 strikes in 2010, according to The Long War Journal.
According to the paper, analysts attribute the decrease to a dwindling number of senior Qaeda leaders and a pause in strikes last year after the arrest in January of Raymond Davis, a CIA security contractor who killed two Pakistanis, the Navy Seal raid in May that killed Osama bin Laden, and the American airstrike on November 26.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Trump-Sharif conversation: Team Donald denies Pakistan's claims
- Rahul Gandhi's and Congress' Twitter accounts hacked: Who's behind it?
- Rahul Gandhi's Twitter handle hacked again
- Hizbul commander Musa issues threats of attacks in new video
- Panel discussion over Mamata Banerjee's false allegations on Indian Army for political gains
- Gujarat businessman declares highest ever black money amount – Rs 13,000 crore!
- Army proves Mamata Banerjee wrong, releases letter showing West Bengal govt knew of exercise
- Rs 4.7 crore cash in Rs 2000 notes! Biggest seizure in new currency post demonetisation - What I-T recovered from Bengaluru, Chennai and Erode
- Manohar Parrikar exposes Mamata's attempt to politicise routine Army exercise in Kolkata
- Scam? 'Aam Aadmi Party using Delhi Transport Corporation to exchange Rs 500, Rs 1,000 notes'