Is Pakistan thinking of ending its support for Predator strikes?


According to The Nation (the Pakistani version, which is pro-military), the Pakistani military is considering cutting off its support for US Predator airstrikes in the tribal areas:

In a major policy shift, Pakistan is likely to say ‘NO’ to the US over its CIA-operated drone strikes in North Waziristan Agency, thus bringing an end to the policy of former military ruler General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf.

Well-placed sources told The Nation on Wednesday that Islamabad has decided in principle to convey Washington that it does not desire unabated drone strikes, and would rather like to tackle terrorism related challenges on its own.

When approached, the US Embassy spokesman expressed his ignorance about these developments. However, the government and military sources were of the firm opinion that the US drone strikes had aggravated the problem.

“The US might have achieved tactical gains through the drone strikes, but they too had caused enormous damage to Pakistan’s efforts towards fighting the terrorism”, military chief spokesperson Major General Ather Abbas told The Nation on Wednesday.

He was of the view that the Pakistan Army does not support US drone strikes, and has always sought to secure the US drone technology to effectively tackle the challenge without any collateral damage. However, these efforts, he said, had not borne fruits so far.

One wonders if the Pakistani military has truly soured on the Predator strikes, or if this is merely pushback against US efforts to expand the Predator campaign into Baluchistan as well as US pressure on the Pakistani Army to take action in North Waziristan.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • yash says:

    Pak is a beggar nation. I dont think they will stop supporting the drone strikes

  • MalangJan says:

    Since last ten years US/NATO has been unable to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism in Pakistan. Neither drones nor payment of about US18 billion to Pakistani military were of any significant impact. It is time to evaulate with cool mind what needs to be done to get rid of this menace of factories of terrorism. Could it be complete international isolation of Pakistan? Decalraing it as Terrorist State by UN & imposing international trade emborgo & sacntions on Pakistan Army. Failure to dismantle this infrastructure of terrorism could lead to the dismantling of NATO & US as toothless super power. Victory for Taliban in Afghanistan & hence in Pakistan will mean that. There will be no point left in blaming Karzai anyone else for that but the West shall blame itslef. Counting dead bodies of Taliban on Longwarjournal will not help. Unless otherwise the brain behind all these factories of terrorists are blown out.

  • Charley says:

    I don’t know why we are humoring these guys for so long. Is there any previous war when the US bent over backwards to accommodate an antagonist pretending to support us and complicit in our troop deaths? I can’t think of any instance.
    Let’s get our boys of of there and bomb from afar any movement in their terror training camps, whether in uninhabited or habited areas. Only our departure and stopping of the gravy train is going to reform the Pakistan military.

  • Infidel4LIFE says:

    we may drive them into p-stan, but there they will wait. Unless the US bribes, threatens, the p-stani’s this mission will wind up failing. Karzai is so corrupt, why do we put up with it? This won’t end in a military victory. At best, a semi-stable A-stan propped up by US troops. I do expect it to evolve into a counter-terror mission.

  • DickF says:

    Maybe the Pakistanis would prefer B-1s, B-2s, F-15Es and F-16s to Predators and Reapers?
    Seriously, with no real Pakistani cooperation on the ground in places like North Waziristan and Baluchistan and no U.S. ability to attack the Taliban and al Qaeda in the tribal areas, there is little possibility that the U.S. will be able to stabilize Afghanistan. That would mean that bin Laden and his top al Qaeda henchmen would survive and America would lose another war.
    In 2008, President Obama campaigned using the argument that President Bush should have prosecuted the war against al Qaeda to a successful conclusion instead of invading Iraq.
    In 2010, Mr. Obama knows that he is seen as weak at home and abroad. But if the Pakistanis think this means that they can push him around, they’d better think again. Obama’s political fate is hanging in the balance and he knows it. Acquiescing to something like this after promising the American people to eliminate al Qaeda would seal his fate in the 2012 election.
    In 1961, Nikita Khruschev badly underestimated another inexperienced American president after meeting him in Vienna. The result, 16 months later, was the Cuban missile crisis–a serious miscalculation that almost led to WW III.
    My advice to Pakistan’s generals is simple: Push Mr. Obama too far and two things are lilely to happen:
    1. Obama will play the India card, most likely irrevocably. Don’t go there.
    2. You’re likely to get an ultimatum from the U.S. similar to the one Richard Armitage delivered to General Musharraf shortly after 9/11: cooperate with the U.S. or Pakistan is going to be bombed back to the Stone Age.

  • Dan A says:

    If this is the case it probably means one main thing: The drone campaign is working too well for ISI’s taste.

  • Villiger says:

    I would respond to the title-question with a question:
    A worthwhile reminder in the form of an extract from the Summary of the Kerry-Lugar Act:
    “Conditions military aid on certification that the Pakistani security forces are:

  • Caratacus10ad says:

    “However, the government and military sources were of the firm opinion that the US drone strikes had aggravated the problem.”
    The problem being (presumably) the Pakistani military top-brass and its commanders and also the heads of the Pakistani intel services? (ISI)

  • saks115 says:

    After 9/11 Pakistan had no choice but to acquiesce to US demands. It seems that Pakistan has been testing the waters lately (border closure, crackdown on helicopters crossing the border, threats to stop the drones) to see if it can get back to conceding as little as possible to the US without losing funding or getting attacked. I believe the US needs to have a stronger response to Pakistan that tolerates nothing less than total compliance with US demands otherwise Pakistan will only continue to become less and less cooperative.
    I also agree the drones are probably working too well. And it seems Pakistan holds onto power by ceding power throughout most of the region to the Taliban and other tribal groups. With those groups upset, they will cause chaos for the Pakistani government that it must think it cannot handle otherwise it wouldn’t be trying to protect them (i.e., Haqqani network/Quetta Shura) The Pakistani government needs to quit playing both sides and choose their ally.

  • Jimmy says:

    @all commentators
    What you do not seem to understand is that today Pakistan cares a hoot about threats of total annihilation from NATO or the US playing the India card or total international isolation. Why? Because of its Godfather – China!
    It knows if NATO bombs Pakistan, it is WWIII with China firmly behind Pak. If the West plays the India card, Pak will play the China card.
    (Well, we have ourselves to blame for this catch-22 situation. For 10 years India was warning us about China-Pak-Taliban-Jihadi nexus to bankrupt the west. But noooooooo…we were too snobs then to hear out the poor, illiterate Indians).
    Anyway, what is done is done. The reality today is that China-N.Korea-Pakistan-Jihadis-Iran-Alqaeda have a military alliance. We need to get all democratic nations in a sort of common understanding against helping any of these countries. Then play out the cold war once again.
    But before that we have to get out of the clutches of the blackmailing Pakistan Army. We have to free our batting arm so that we can hit a home run. But how?? This is the million dollar question! Any suggestions??

  • Dave says:

    Maybe the drone attacks are taking their toll heavily on the Haqanni network (Good Taliban, in the eyes of Pakistan), and THAT is why Pakistan wants them to stop.
    Pakistan has a vested interest in keeping ISAF tied down indefinitely in Afghanistan, and has a vested interest in ISAF not winning.


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