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June 15, 2014

Send in the drones

As expected, the five-month pause in the U.S. drone war in Pakistan appears to have been just that.

As expected, the five-month pause in the U.S. drone war in Pakistan appears to have been just that.

Just a day after two attacks on Karachi’s airport claimed by the Tehrik-e-Taliban — the first one, at least, seems to have been carried out by gunmen from the Taliban-aligned Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan — a U.S. drone fired on an area in Northwest Pakistan this week. It marks the first U.S. strike on the country since Dec. 25.

The U.S. had reportedly held back on drone strikes at the request of the Pakistani government while Islamabad attempted to carry out peace talks with the Taliban. After this week’s violence in Karachi, that long-faltering diplomatic effort appears to have come to a definitive end.

According to the AFP, there were two strikes, the first against a vehicle and compound in a small town in Waziristan, the second coming several hours later on “militants who had gathered to dig the debris.” Pakistani say the roughly 16 killed were Uzbeks and local Taliban. The Pakistani military also carried out its own airstrikes near the Afghan border this week.

Latest reports suggest the White House has rebuffed Iraqi government requests to carry out airstrikes against the ISIS militants gaining power there, but meanwhile, America’s covert war in Pakistan appears to be back on.

Joshua Keating is a staff writer at Slate focusing on international news, social science and related topics. He was previously an editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

© 2014, Slate

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