By William Tucker
The Long War Journal reported yesterday that the US had struck another site in Pakistan with several unmanned aerial drones killing 14 militants. According to Bill Roggio, the articles author, this is the twelfth strike in Pakistan since September 1st. According to Roggio’s statistics the US has managed to kill 29 militants in the past 24 hours. I use the word militants here because we don’t know which network these individuals – collectively speaking – belonged to. This uptick could be attributed to several factors such as the floods in Pakistan limiting movement or possibly by the recent change in command of the Afghan theater.
The floods in Pakistan have not directly affected all of the regions that are usually targeted by US drones; however these floods and the resulting response have hindered movement throughout the country. We also have to consider the recent change in command. General Petraeus has approached the Afghan conflict more aggressively than his predecessor in several areas. The good General is also under a great deal of pressure as the July 2011 deadline set by the President slowly approaches. By targeting militants that hide in Pakistan as well as those in Afghanistan it is likely that Petraeus is trying to shape the Taliban movement by weakening them just enough to force negotiations. Either way it is unlikely that this pace will slow down any time soon.