Nov 04 2013
On Friday, a day before peace talks were scheduled to start between Pakistani officials and members of the Pakistani Taliban, a US drone strike apparently killed notorious Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud. While Pakistani officials are now accusing the US of sabotaging the peace talks, Taliban leaders are vowing revenge with a wave of suicide bombings.
The drone strike which took out Mehsud also killed several others, although reports vary on how many and who they were. Although civilian deaths occur routinely, holding the US accountable for these deaths is nearly impossible due to the shroud of secrecy within which the CIA conducts its drone operations.
This latest strike comes against the backdrop of recent reports issued by the prominent human rights organizations, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who, along with a United Nations report contradict The White House’s assertions that there are very few civilian casualties. Yet the outcry from victims of these strikes has failed to move President Obama to change his policies.
Last week’s Congressional briefing during which members of a Pakistani family named Rehman flew to Washington D.C. to speak about how their 68 year old grandmother was killed by a drone while picking vegetables in Waziristan, was attended by only five members of Congress.
While the Pakistani Government publicly denounces these drone strikes, secret memos from the Washington Post last week reveal that many of the strikes were done with their full knowledge and cooperation.
GUEST: Humna Bhojani, Pakistani writer and journalist whose work has appeared in the Huffington Post, the Nation, and Alternet