Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In the crosshairs of US drones

By Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera, Oct 10, 2010

Photo by AFP

Residents live under a constant fear of being hit as dozens of unmanned drones buzz the skies over North and South Waziristan. The drones frighten children and women who sometimes become the victims, especially if the intended targets are anywhere close to their homes.

According to local tribal sources, the Americans have planted several spies whose job is to insert microchips in vehicles which are then tracked and taken out by missiles fired from drones.

When the US drone attacks started several years ago, their priority was to get the al-Qaeda leadership, But a lot has changed since then, and it appears the Americans have expanded their targets to include foreign fighters, the Pakistani Taliban, and al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

According to one senior Pakistanii military official, the accuracy of the drone raids has increased but that it still causing civilian casualties because of the nature of the way local houses are built.

The large adobe-type mud structures are wall to wall and so, often adjoining structures collapse under the pressure of heavy explosions.

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