Alex Constantine - March 11, 2010
Drone strikes may be counter-productive. Joshua Foust of Registan.com questions the utility of the much vaunted U.S. drone strikes that target militants in northwest Pakistan. There are arguments both for and against drone strikes, but neither side has concrete methodology to back up its point of view, Foust notes. But, citing a recent London Times piece about how drone strikes are actually boosting support for the Taliban, Foust thinks that the U.S. is essentially shooting itself in the foot by using drones, which stoke resentment. If the rise of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan--the Pakistani Taliban--is any indication, it should sober the pro-drone camp.
"The end result of this incessant drone war against [Taliban] militant leadership is that the leadership itself is far more radical and far less willing to negotiate an end to their insurgency than they were in 2004. While the drones could be called a stunning success in going after al Qaeda, they've also been used for years to go after the Pakistani Taliban--and in both cases the men who replaced the dead commanders were more vicious and less amenable to overtures from governments to discuss an end to the violence."
When Nek Muhammad Wazir was killed by a drone strike in 2004, he was at the negotiating table. His successor, Baitullah Mehsud, was far more ideologically hardened, and refused any overtures. And the Pakistani Taliban continues to operate, even after over 118 drone strikes since 2004.