The South Asia Channel

Pakistani ambassador slams U.S. drone strikes

Editor's note: A new paper commissioned by the New America Foundation's National Security Studies Program from Aaron Y. Zelin finds that online jihadists are increasingly turning to social media as a communication and propaganda platform, but that services like Facebook and Twitter are unlikely to replace the password-protected jihadist forums that the online supporters have traditionally used. To read more, click here.

No more drones

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman, told journalists on Tuesday that CIA drone strikes are a "direct violation of our sovereignty" and are doing more harm than good by encouraging anti-American extremism in Pakistan's tribal regions (Bloomberg, Dawn, Post).

A day after Ambassador Rehman's statements, at least three people were killed in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, and officials said the death toll may rise (ET/AFP, Dawn). The White House defended its drone campaign on Tuesday, calling the strikes "legal, ethical, and wise," after the release of a Justice Department memo that outlined the Obama administration's legal justification for killing U.S. citizens in such attacks.

A new report by the Open Society Foundations details the ways in which 54 governments participated in the CIA's program of secret detentions and extraordinary renditions (ET). Pakistan, for its part, "captured, detained, interrogated, tortured and abused individuals subjected to CIA secret detention and extraordinary renditions. It also permitted its airspace to be used for flights associated with these operations," according to the report.

Pakistan will receive a $250 million loan from the International Development Bank for a domestically-designed anti-polio campaign, after previous donors refused to continue funding efforts to eradicate the disease, citing Pakistan's missed vaccination targets and inconsistent strategies (Dawn). Pakistan is one of just three countries that have not been able to stamp out polio, and has struggled to maintain vaccination programs as militant attacks against health workers continue to rise.

Deadly blast

A bomb hidden inside a pressure cooker was detonated at a restaurant in the northern Afghan Province of Faryab on Tuesday, killing five people and wounding seven others, including the former jihadi commander Mohammad Nadir, whom the district governor said was the target of the attack (AP). There has been no claim of responsibility for the blast.

Warfare of the future

British troops in Afghanistan may appear to be playing with toys while on duty, but they are really deploying pocket-sized drones equipped with pan-and-tilt cameras that stream video back to the soldiers' tablet computers (NBC). The four-inch, 16 gram drones look like miniature helicopters, and can fly for up to 25 minutes with a range of 1,000 meters (six-tenths of a mile), allowing soldiers to identify insurgent firing points and examine the ground for bombs before they move.

-- Jennifer Rowland

Bonny Schoonakker/AFP/Getty Images


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