A pre-announced surprise drone attack

Quetta in the crosshairs

If you have a dim view of the US government, then you could conclude that allowing the New York Times to announce that the CIA intends to conduct drone strikes against Mullah Omar & Co at their sanctuaries in Quetta is the Obama administration’s very own Tora Bora (via The Washington Independent). How better to surprise the Taliban leadership than by letting it be known that they will be attacked next.

But if you think that the New York Times doesn’t leak such sensitive information without purpose, then you might conclude that this is a little warning to the folks holed out in Quetta, and their friends in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, that unless they quickly become ‘moderate’ Taliban then, well, the US might be compelled to destroy some real estate developments in and around Quetta. And what does ‘moderate’ mean? No, not those who award 10 lashes instead of 100 for women showing their ankles. Rather, those who are amenable to negotiate a cessation of hostilities with the United States.

Is the threat credible? Well, unless you belong to the dim view camp, the good folks in Washington probably think so. Or they think that just getting the Quetta Shura to scatter is a good day’s work.

8 thoughts on “A pre-announced surprise drone attack”

  1. Well if the stats in the article are true, Taliban militants will rest a bit easier in the knowledge the 30%+ of the planes crash. So that gives them a at least a 1/3 chance of imporved odds!

  2. And just in time Farid Zakaria’s latest newsweek spin calls on the enlightened, moderate west to ‘learn to live with radical islam’.

    How Quaint.

    Events are headed towards an end-game. I only hope India is not a pawn in this game but an active, aware participant.

  3. Nitin,
    The NYT has a history of effective perfidy – leaking sensitive details to the public when they compromise US security. I wouldnt put it past these morons to publish this without thinking through what they are doing.

  4. I think its pretty straight forward..they are probing the political landscape of Pak to extrapolate what might happen when they put in fully-fledged ground assault on specific targets like special op hit last July. A ground operation is begging to be started, its a matter of time that happens. Pakistan cannot be any more unstable than its now. It would have been better if they could co-ordinate with India. But Americans being dumbasses..will shoot themselves in the foot..

  5. Does anyone want to discuss the actual tactical or strategic merit of attacking Quetta or are we just going to debate whether the NYT is a government whipping boy (obvious)?

    Allow me to postulate the following, admit my lack of expertise and seek to be educated.

    One of the big questions nagging me for sometime now is who are all these insurgent groups? How much coordination is there between them? do they share the same leadership? the same goals?

    I have not seen enough discussion about the differences between the Afghan Taliban (Quetta Shura) and the TTP (Meshud, Nazeer, Haqqani, Hekmatyar, Fazluluah etc.) Can anyone enlighten me? While I agree there are inherent problems in trying to compromise with “the Taliban” (writ large), I do wonder if there aren’t ways to exploit the differences among some of the factions rather than continuing to pursue policies that seem to have done nothing but unite them?

    Another area (in addition to tribal, ideological and strategic differences within “the Taliban”)that I would appreciate some insight concerns the regional differences? Are the insurgencies in Helmand/Kandahar and Kunar/Nooristan the same insurgencies? Are the militants in Swat the same as the militants in Khyber agency or N/S Waziristan? Are they the same as the Quetta Shura?

    It seems to me that with as (apparently) fractious a social structure as the Pashtun have (tribal, clan and regional differences etc.), the idea of trying to exploit differences might not be such a bad idea?

    As for whether to start bombing deeper into Pakistan, it would likely have mixed results. Sure, you put pressure on their “supply lines” into Afghanistan, you make it difficult for them to operate, you may kill some HVT (which reduces operational capability and might–emphasis might–open the door to compromise).

    But the downside seems to be the “Ho Chi Minh Trail” kind of a problem…Won’t we just push the militants deeper and deeper into the settled areas of Pakistan until eventually they completely destabilize or takeover the government? We would simultaneously push them into the settled areas and make the population more sympathetic (i.e. anti-american) to their cause? Can anyone say Khmer Rouge?

  6. The NYT has a history of effective perfidy – leaking sensitive details to the public when they compromise US security.

    That is a daft comment. Sorry, couldn’t find a polite way of saying that. Do you get your ‘talking points’ from O’Reilly?

  7. The NYT has a history of effective perfidy – leaking sensitive details to the public when they compromise US security.

    Where would you draw the line between an acceptable leak and an unacceptable one?

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