Dawn has begun to release the thousands of leaked US diplomatic cables related to Pakistan. These cables provide a window into US relations with Pakistan. And there is some interesting information on the US’s covert Predator campaign.
In a cable dated Oct. 2, 2009, the Secretariat of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Agencies (FATA) is described as “a strong advocate of U.S. strikes” and calls on the US to double tap targets – in other words, to follow up the first strike by hitting again, during the recovery phase [note: the name of the FATA Secretariat has been replaced with XXXXXXXXXXXX in the text below]:
XXXXXXXXXXXX remains a strong advocate of U.S. strikes. In fact, he suggested to PO that the U.S. consider follow-on attacks immediately after an initial strike. He explained that after a strike, the terrorists seal off the area to collect the bodies; in the first 10-24 hours after an attack, the only people in the area are terrorists, so “”you should hit them again-there are no innocents there at that time.”” His sources report that the reported September 29 strike in South Waziristan had been particularly successful; “”you will see that you hit more than has been reported in the press both in terms of quantity and quality.”” XXXXXXXXXXXX also drew a diagram essentially laying out the rationale for signature strikes that eliminated terrorist training camps and urged that the U.S. do more of these.
We have seen the US Predators double tap targets in the FATA often. The press reports in the immediate aftermath of strikes indicate that the Taliban do indeed cordon off the strike area to perform recovery operations.
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