Terror attacks continue even after halt in drone strikes
February 16, 2014 - 6:43:20 am
ISLAMABAD: Although the CIA halted its drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal areas at the start of this year, Taliban and Al Qaeda-linked militants have stepped up their terrorist activities in a big way.
According to official statistics on terrorist attacks across Pakistan in the first 45 days of 2014, 361 people were killed and 487 injured in 46 incidents of terrorism in the country.
This is despite the fact that there was no drone attack during this period. During the first one and a half months of 2014, Taliban-linked militants killed 277 civilians and 84 security and law enforcement personnel.
On average, eight people have been killed by terrorists every day in the aforementioned period. The Taliban used to justify the TTP’s terror spree while citing US drone attacks which have killed many of the key Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders in the tribal belt, the last being the TTP ameer Hakeemullah Mehsud.
The detractors of the drone attacks were of the view that the Taliban-sponsored terrorist activities were actually retaliatory actions and the most viable way to stop terrorism in Pakistan was to put an end to the US drone strikes.
As the prime minister took up the issue with President Obama in their Washington meeting followed by Sartaj Aziz who was in the US recently, his administration accepted Pakistan’s stance that these strikes have a negative impact on peace talks with the Taliban.
Although CIA has halted drone attacks in Pakistan for the time being, the Americans have made it clear that there will be two exceptions: US drones will attack positions inside Fata to stop an imminent attack or to target a senior Al Qaeda figure.
In fact, the American drones have not carried out a single strike in any part of Pakistan since December 25, 2013.
According to available figures, of the 46 incidents of terrorism across Pakistan during the last 45 days, seven acts were carried out by suicide bombers, which killed 48 people.