CIA Drone Strikes in Pakistan: History, Perception and Future
47 Pages Posted: 29 Apr 2018
Date Written: December 1, 2017
This report is a part of CRSS’s special publication series that focuses on perception and impact of drone strikes on security and counter-terrorism in Pakistan. The report discusses the background of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-operated US drone strikes in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), along with how the success of the first strike and the confusion surrounding it gave the US an unmanned option to target alleged terror heads in the region. Since the first strike in 2004 which targeted Taliban leader Nek Muhammad Wazir, the US has conducted over 400 strikes in various areas of FATA. These strikes on the one hand have resulted in the elimination of high profile targets, while on the other, have contributed to civilian casualties. There are conflicting opinions and sentiments on the issue both abroad and in Pakistan, with arguments that such strikes have led to a spike in extremism and terrorism in FATA. The primary survey conducted in this report suggests that drones remain a complex issue with competing narratives. There are also a significant number of respondents from FATA who believe that drones not only eliminate terrorists, but are also the least of three evils: military operations, Taliban and drones. Finally, the report recommends that if the government of Pakistan has a tacit drone deal with the US government and believes drones are effective in FATA, it needs to formulate an effective and clear narrative in order to give clarity.
Keywords: Drones, Drone Strikes, FATA, Pashtuns, Tribal Areas, Legality, Legitimacy
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