Switch to Desktop Site
 
 

US should replace drone strikes in Pakistan with outreach to tribal areas

The Pakistani Taliban's vow to avenge the death of its No. 2 leader – killed by a US drone strike Wednesday – and boycott government peace efforts shows the ineffective nature of US drone policy. The US must stop the strikes and build up tribal regions in Pakistan and other countries.

Image

Pakistani protesters burn a representation of a US flag to condemn a US drone strike in the Pakistani tribal area of Waziristan that killed Taliban leader Waliur Rehman May 30. Op-ed contributors Akbar Ahmed and Harrison Akins write: 'Washington should work with allied central governments within traditional tribal structures to help maintain law and order in tribal areas, rather than continuing...drone strikes...that alienate entire tribal populations.'

M. Abbass/AP

About these ads

Praise goes to President Obama for his long-overdue decision to limit drone strikes. But it's clear from this week's strike that killed the Pakistani Taliban's No. 2 leader, Wali-Ur Rehman Mehsud, that the unfortunate program is still operative.

Mr. Obama says that America must end its “perpetual war” on terrorism, but continuing the drone program makes that very difficult to do. Where one terrorist is killed by a drone, a hundred are created in his place. The drone has proven to be an uneconomic, inhuman, and ultimately ineffective method of fighting the war on terror. Case in point: Today, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban has said the group will avenge the death of its leader killed Wednesday and will not participate in government peace initiatives.

The United States has been bearing down on terrorists militarily for more than a decade. What it needs, however, is a comprehensive and long-term political strategy that understands the historical and social context of violence in regions that breed terrorists – particularly in the remote tribal areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Then it must find a way to more effectively deal with tribes.

What America’s intense drone program has shown so far, is that Washington has misunderstood tribal groups and their histories, creating more enemies than supporters. 

Take the example of Tariq al-Fadhli, a leader of Yemen’s southern tribal resistance against the central government. In 2010, he filmed a video of himself and his fellow tribesmen standing at attention before the American flag – the Star Spangled Banner echoing in the background.

Next

Page 1 of 4

Share