Pakistan OK With US Drone Attacks On Militant Leaders

The recent killing of an Al Qaeda leader by an unarmed Predator airstrike in a remote area of Pakistan demonstrateds the US has the military reach and intelligence sources that can be fruitful to the Pakistan government, but it does not change views of President Musharraf concerning the presence of American ground forces in his nation. “The agreement that apparently to have been reached,” notes Rand analyst Seth Jones, “between the US and Pakistan is that it’s OK to cooperate on targeted strikes against Al Qaeda leaders. But it’s not OK at the moment for US forces to try to clear and hold territory that is controlled by Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-related groups in Pakistan.” Jones believes over the past few months American intelligence sources have stepped up their conveying of information to Pakistan counterparts.

It appears US involvement in Pakistan has been limited to training Pakistani security forces, supplying equipment such as night vision goggles and collecting intelligence. As long as Pedator air strikes are limited to Al-Qaeda or militant targets, Pakistan public opinon will accept that option, but if they result in death to civilians, there will be a marked shift in opinion.

There is scant doubt military actions are needed in combating militants, but without extensive economic assistance, these efforts, in the long run, will fail to achieve the goal of ending militant activities in Pakistan.