Monday, May 25, 2009

700 dead Pakistani civilians

From The Times:

Concern mounts over US Predator covert killings

WASHINGTON, May 23 - America has stepped up the covert targeted killing policy in Pakistan and Afghanistan despite the concern of security experts about its effectiveness and complaints by human rights groups about civilian casualties.

The CIA is said to have carried out at least 16 Predator strikes in Pakistan during the first four months of this year, compared with 36 strikes in the whole of 2008...

David Kilcullen, who was the chief counter-terrorism adviser to Condoleezza Rice, the former Secretary of State, has said that the programme should be scrapped. “Since 2006 we’ve killed 14 senior al-Qaeda leaders using drone strikes; in the same time period we’ve killed 700 Pakistani civilians in the same area. The drone strikes are highly unpopular.” he said... (link)
Kilcullin may not be the best source to quote, however. Juan Cole finds his recent rantings about Pakistan's imminent collapse and more "absurd." (In the comments here, one anonymous insider claims Kilcullin is a "huckster and a showman".) Perhaps more seriously, anthropologist Price outlines an accusation that Kilcullin lifted parts of the US military's new counterinsurgency manual from Lawrence of Arabia.

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