CounterterrorismU.S. to reconsider use of drones in Pakistan

Published 13 April 2011

In the last twenty-four months, U.S. drones have killed some 1,000 militants — but also about 600 civilians; in an effort to shore up fraying relationship with Pakistan, the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan said the United States would examine the continued use of drones in the war against the militants; Pakistani prime minister Asif Ali Zardari said the drone war has destabilized Pakistan and made political and economic reforms more difficult to accomplish

Pakistan want an end to UAV operationss // Source:

The United States is considering the effectiveness of the continued use of drones to fight militants in Pakistan. In the last twenty-four months, U.S. drones killed about 1,000 militants, but also about 600 civilians. The use of these drones has inflamed Pakistani public opinion.

Fox News reports that the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter, said the use of dron “is something on our agenda.” Munter spoke at a gathering of top Pakistani military brass, analysts, and academics Monday at an event that was billed by the local U.S. Embassy as a major policy announcement.

Fox news notes that Munter’s comment did not come from his prepared speech, but during a question-and-answer session in response to a question from a member of the audience. Television cameras were ordered to leave the room for the question-and-answer session.

“We have habits and tendencies that don’t work for us and get in the way [of its relationship with Pakistan],” Munter said, a reference to drones and undercover C.I.A. operations on Pakistani soil that have enraged Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence.

The ambassador gave no timeline on when a review of drone policy would be conducted, but it is likely that Washington will want to make it a priority as it attempts to shore up relations with Pakistan.

The Pakistani position on the use of drones has been ambivalent. On the one hand, Pakistani military and security services have repeatedly asked the United States to provide Pakistan with its own drones so it could conduct anti-militant operations on its own. Pakistan has also asked – and so far, has been rebuffed – to receive information on drone operations and targets before the United States launch such operations. Fearing information leaks, the United States has refused.

On the other hand, Pakistani prime minister Asif Ali Zardari has told the Guardian newspaper that the continuing drone war has contributed to the destabilization of the country and has made political and economic reforms more difficult to achieve.