Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another CNAS Policy Win

The Center for a New American Security released a report on Pakistan and Afghanistan in advance of their conference two weeks ago in which they recommended, among other things, a drastic reduction in missile strikes from drones along in Pakistan, and a renewed focus on protecting the populations.
Now, predictably, new Afghanistan commander General Stanley McChrystal's first order was to restrict air strikes into Pakistan in order to protect the population. Of course that was followed by the news today that an air strike in South Waziristan killed two more people at the funeral of militants killed by a previous air strike, so we'll see how the policy plays out.
McChrystal also stated that air support would be limited even when directly fighting the Taliban if the fighting is taking place near populated areas. That's great, because civilian deaths are certainly counterproductive, but if American forces are pinned down in fighting near a town will he be willing to take the heat for American lives lost due to the policy? We shall see.
Update (6/23/09 14:04 ET): News reports are now saying the drone strike killed 40-80 people at the funeral. I assume that's the same strike mentioned earlier. That's what reducing strikes and minimizing damage to civilians looks like? Wow.

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