After Hiatus, U.S. Resumes UAV Strikes in Pakistan
By William Tucker
A suspected U.S. UAV strike hit a house in Chashma, a village near Miramshah, Pakistan today killing seven and wounding several others. Reports have emerged that Tehrik-e-Taliban (TTP), also known as the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, deputy chief Waliur Rehman was killed in the strike, however neither the U.S., Pakistan, nor the TTP have confirmed this. Bear in mind that confirmation of the identities of those killed in a UAV strike can take time. The BBC is quoting one of their sources in Miramshah as confirming that Rehman was killed, but again, it is vital to wait for confirmation from multiple sources. As evidence of the need for patience it is important to remember that Rehman has been reported dead twice before.
Though the U.S. suspended these strikes for six weeks, it may not indicate a return to the pace of UAV strikes in the last few years. Pakistan has a new government and the U.S. is still looking to withdraw from Afghanistan in the next year. These UAV strikes have been contentious at times and neither country wants to see anything stymie the U.S. military withdrawal from Pakistan’s northern neighbor. Any delay would complicate Islamabad’s desire to reassert its influence in Afghanistan. The U.S. seems to have accepted that Pakistan will play a rather large role in a post-U.S. Afghanistan even though that role may not be as congruent to Washington’s interests as they would like. UAV strikes are not the sole barometer of U.S.-Pakistani relations, but they are a very visible aspect of a complicated relationship.