On the same day that President Obama approved the use of armed drones in Libya, American drones in Pakistan reportedly killed twelve in the region of North Waziristan.
Waziristan is considered a haven for Al Qaeda and pro-Taliban forces, but the strikes weren’t entirely in line with Pakistani army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s plan to fight against the militants. Kayani has said he feels the drones complicate the campaign against the rebel forces. The drones are also unpopular with the Pakistani public; hundreds of civilians have reportedly died in unmanned-drone attacks.
The U.S. military prefers the use of drones, explains Marine General James Cartwright, because of their ability to “get down lower, therefore to be able to get better visibility on targets that have started to dig themselves into defensive positions.” Cartwright stressed that the drones are well-suited for densely populated areas. “It’s very difficult to pick friend from foe. So a vehicle like the Predator that can get down lower and can get IDs better, helps us.” Pakistanis might disagree.
Pakistan: US drone raid ‘kills 12’ in N Waziristan [BBC]
US deploys armed drones in Libya [Al Jazeera]