The United States Secretary of State John Kerry has defended America’s use of drones to hunt down wanted terror leaders, saying the pilot less planes are only used against confirmed targets and after much vetting.
In support of his argument he cited various factors, which go into perceiving and conceiving a drone strike:
• The drone attacks have decreased in the last year, because of the success achieved in rooting out Al-Qaeda in Pakistan.
• The strikes are ordered only on confirmed terrorist targets after a great deal of vetting.
• Sometimes it takes a year to build the authority to know that you are correct.
• The drones do not fire if there is information about the presence of children or collateral. Even high-level targets are avoided if there are people around.
• The U.S. preference was to capture the suspects wanted by the U.S. agencies. Islamic militants did not use the same caution when they attacked American or Western targets.
• The extremists who attacked places of worship like mosques never engaged in the kind of precision that the United States has used in this program. But he also maintained that America was not engaged in a war against Islam.
The Taliban have again threatened to assassinate former President of Pakistan, Parvez Musharraf, who is currently in police custody on charges of violating the country’s constitution when he imposed emergency rule in 2007, besides other legal cases. In March 2013, prior to Musharraf’s arrival, the Taliban threatened to kill him for his alliance with the United States in the war on terror. The video message from the extremists on a website Umar media states that soon we will punish the Satan with death for his wicked deed.
Secretary of State Kerry also defended the U.S. move to initiate open talks with the Taliban leadership, saying it was better to try to bring people to the table to resolve issues rather than try to fight it out. He added that talks with China and Vietnam were once also opposed but America discussed all issues through the use of diplomacy.
The above can be summarized in the following:
• Al-Qaeda and Taliban compliment each other by promoting an extreme ideology, which believes in radicalization of all segments of the society.
• In persuasion of their agenda they have used the instruments of fear, persecution, brutality and mass murder mostly of innocent civilians. The language used to threaten a former President reflects sheer hatred and revenge.
• After continuing a series of terrorist acts inside Pakistan killing more than 47,000 people, the extremists have openly challenged the writ of the government. They succeeded in assassinating former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto during a political rally in 2007 and now another former President is on their top hit list.
• It is understandable that bringing them to the negotiating table is part of a reconciliation process and therefore must be pursued.
It must be remembered that Al-Qaeda and Taliban have waged a war against the right of the people to live in freedom and liberty. They have backed out of negotiations in the past. Moreover, the terrorist organizations do not represent themselves as a whole. Some of the factions may be inclined towards peace, while others may be fully opposed to this option. The United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan will have to evolve a new strategy in finding a political solution, granting concessions with firm guarantees and using military force only as a last resort.
1. Dawn News May 25/26, 2013