Monday, 4 January 2010

700 Innocent Civilians in 2009

Ahmed Rashid, Lahore-based, journalist writing for the BBC:
Pakistan & Afghanistan Crisis: Pakistan

In 2010, Pakistan faces a triple crisis:
  • Acute political instability - President Asif Ali Zardari may be forced to resign, which could trigger long-term political unrest
  • An ever-worsening economic crisis that is creating vast armies of jobless youth who are being attracted to the message of extremism
  • The army's success rate in dealing with its own indigenous Taliban problem
The latter has been partially successful, but consider the figures reported by the Dawn Media Group:

Peshawar: Of the 44 predator strikes carried out by US drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan over the past 12 months, only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of over 700 innocent civilians. According to the statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009.

For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent people also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities. The success percentage for the drone hits during 2009 was hardly 11 per cent. On average, 58 civilians were killed in these attacks every month, 12 persons every week and almost two people every day.

Ahmed Rashid continues:
Pakistan & Afghanistan Crisis: Afghanistan

The Pakistan military, which effectively controls policy towards India and Afghanistan, shows no signs of giving up on the sanctuaries that the Afghan Taliban have acquired in Pakistan. US success in Afghanistan is unlikely without eliminating these sanctuaries or forcing the Afghan Taliban leadership into talks with Kabul.

For the moment the army is hedging its bets with the Afghan Taliban, as it is fearful about a potential power vacuum in Afghanistan once the Americans start to leave in 2011. Other neighbouring countries - India, Iran, Russia and the Central Asian republics - may start thinking along the same lines and prepare their own Afghan proxies to oppose the Afghan Taliban, which could result in a return to a brutal civil war similar to that of the 1990s.

Is History about to repeat itself?


  1. I need some of this information for this article I'm writing (one in which I focus SO much on Swat I completely ignore FATA, which is unfair but very, very typical of most Pukhtuns, including me). I refuse to read any more such news, but closing our eyes to this reality is no good, so we need to spread such information as far and wide as we can. The media won't do it for us, so it's left to us to take care of.

    Very informative post, Tor Khana. Thank you for it.

  2. Qrratugai - Salaamoona Khori - use whatever information you need - spread the word.

    I would like to see the finished article.

  3. I wonder if the Pakistan government feels stupid for supporting the taliban all these years?

  4. Salaam Balah,

    I wonder what the Pakistan government really thinks sometimes. Look at this entry on my blog:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...