What's new

Featured Why Pakistan's Imran Khan said no to American drones

waqasmwi

FULL MEMBER
Mar 16, 2019
432
-2
398
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
trtworld.com

Why Pakistan's Imran Khan said no to American drones
Aoun Sahi

11-13 minutes


The US is running out of options as it looks to secure strike capability against terrorist groups after the Afghan withdrawal.


On May 2, officers of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) visited Nasirabad, a dusty town in the western Balochistan province that borders Afghanistan and Iran. It was part of a scouting mission to pinpoint a location for constructing a new air base, a local government official told Dawn newspaper.
Nasirabad is not far from the Shamsi airfield that the United States used to launch drone strikes against militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas until 2011.
The report of a new air base came at a time when the US is struggling to figure out which country in the region will host its drones as it prepares for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan.
It immediately stirred speculation that a potential air base in Nasirabad is somehow linked with Washington’s request to use Pakistani airspace for future missions to monitor and target Al Qaeda and Daesh in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s top leadership including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi have categorically stated that Islamabad has refused access of its bases to Americans. The PAF has also clarified that search for a new air base is a routine matter.
“No base will be allowed to the US by Prime Minister Imran Khan so long as he is in power,” a senior Pakistani cabinet minister told TRT World.
An old nemesis
Khan, who has been in office since 2018, has long opposed US military intervention in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s own tribal region. And it’s unlikely he’ll back down.
As an opposition leader in 2012, Imran Khan led thousands of people in a rally from Islamabad to the tribal areas to protest US drone operations.
“Pakistan has collaborated with the US in the past but always at a great political cost,” Tughral Yamin, an Islamabad-based security analyst and associate dean at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), told TRT World.
The US has yet to publicly acknowledge Pakistan’s refusal to host its military aircraft and drones. Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor to US President Joe Biden, instead, told a press conference earlier this month that the US has had “constructive discussions in the military, intelligence and diplomatic channels” in response to a question about a possible drone base in Pakistan.
The New York Times reported on June 6 that William J Burns, the director of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), recently visited Islamabad where he met Pakistan’s military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the head of the ISI, Pakistan military’s intelligence wing, Lt General Faiz Hameed.
During the same visit, Burns had requested an audience with Khan but was refused. Khan has reportedly said he will only talk to his counterpart — Joe Biden.
The secret arrival of the CIA director at such a crucial time is being seen as Washington’s attempt to lobby Pakistan’s powerful military.
“Imran Khan might have a thin majority in parliament but he speaks his own mind. Ultimately it’s a political decision (about the base) and I don't think the military will have any objection to that” said Yamin.
In 2012 when Imran Khan was an opposition leader he led thousands of people in a rally from Islamabad to tribal areas in protest against the US drone strikes.
In 2012 when Imran Khan was an opposition leader he led thousands of people in a rally from Islamabad to tribal areas in protest against the US drone strikes. (AP Archive)
The CIA-led US drone operation is widely unpopular in Pakistan. From 2004 and 2018, US drones carried out more than 400 strikes in the tribal areas located in the northern mountainous region. Between 424 and 969 civilians including more than 172 children were killed by bombs rained down by Predator and Reaper drones, according to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ).
The only time the US accepted that one of its drone strikes killed any civilians was in 2015 when an Italian hostage along with another non-Pakistani in the custody of Al Qaeda was targeted.
“Armed drones have their own narrative. For instance in Pakistan they have become synonymous with perpetual surveillance and civilian communities terrorised while the Americans have even refused to take responsibility when something had gone wrong,” said Chris Woods of Airwars, which keeps track of the US drone attacks.
In the years leading up to his election, Khan continuously criticised past governments for allowing US boots on Pakistani soil.
“Imran Khan has been true to his word. There hasn’t been a recorded (CIA) airstrike within Pakistan since he came to power,” said Woods.
The CIA carried out the last drone strike in Pakistan’s tribal region in July 2018, the same month Khan won the election.
If Khan owes part of his electoral success to his defiance to US military intervention then there’s no reason for him to jeopardise his reputation by letting the Americans come back, said Woods.
An exit of a bloody legacy
Drones have been crucial to US military strategy since the Afghan invasion in 2001 drove out the Taliban regime. Over the years, drones have killed as many as 10,000 people in more than 13,000 strikes in Afghanistan. Hundreds of those killed were civilians.
Hundreds of civilians in Pakistan's tribal areas were killed in US drone strikes but Washington never acknowledged their deaths.'s tribal areas were killed in US drone strikes but Washington never acknowledged their deaths.
Hundreds of civilians in Pakistan's tribal areas were killed in US drone strikes but Washington never acknowledged their deaths. (AP Archive)
Operated by ‘pilots’ from a military facility somewhere in the US, the drones actually took off from secret American bases in Afghanistan.
Unlike conventional jets, drones can loiter in the air for up to 40 hours, helping intelligence sleuths collect information about targets on the ground. The cameras in the ball-shaped sensor turrets of drones have advanced in the past decade just like the cellphone cameras. They allow an operator to clearly see if someone is holding a gun in his hand and follow a militant to an isolated location before he’s hit.
“In principle, yes, drones should be better at avoiding civilian deaths than conventional jets. However, in practice, it depends on the targeting practices of the operators and how relaxed they are,” said Professor Hugh Gusterson, an anthropologist at The University of British Columbia and author of the book Drone: Remote Control Warfare.
“Over time, Obama tightened targeting protocols to reduce civilian deaths, then (Donald) Trump relaxed them,” he told TRT World.
The tenure of former US President Barack Obama saw the largest number of drone attacks.
The US has expedited the pullout of its troops from Afghanistan since it signed a peace deal with the Taliban last year. Washington plans to remove its remaining 2,000 odd soldiers by September 11, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that started the war on terror.
Many of the US military bases have been vacated or handed over to the Afghan military, which experts say will face difficulty in fighting Taliban insurgents once foreign troops leave.
Searching for alternates
In what US officials have dubbed “over-the-horizon capacity”, Washington wants to station some of its drones and other military assets in one of Afghanistan’s neighbouring countries.
But that has nothing to do with checking the advances of the Taliban, the US Central Command (CENTCOM) commander Marine Gen. Kenneth F McKenzie Jr told the Military Times in an interview this week.
“I would tell you that the only thing we’re planning for right now — the only thing we’re planning for right now — is the ability to continue operations against al-Qaeda and ISIS (Daesh),” he said.
Drone attacks have become synonymous with death and destruction in Pakistan.
Drone attacks have become synonymous with death and destruction in Pakistan. (AP Archive)
Finding a country — other than Pakistan — that will host US forces and drones is turning out to be a challenge.
“US drones could operate from other bases in the region, including from Turkey. In general you want drones to be stationed as close as possible to their targets,” said Gusterson.
“The less distance they have to travel to target, the less you spend on fuel and maintenance and the more flying time you spend on the mission itself rather than on getting to the mission. Drones fly slowly, so distance matters.”
Some Central Asian countries can offer a solution, but Russia would oppose such a move.
Tajikistan has in the past allowed US planes to refuel at one of its air bases near the capital Dushanbe. But Tajik President Emomali Rahmon is close to Moscow. He was the only foreign leader invited by Russia for the May 6 military parade.
US troops also used the Karshi-Khanabad air base in Uzbekistan between 2001 and 2005. The arrangement fell apart after Washington condemned Uzbek government for suppressing domestic protests there.
One narrative that’s being pushed around — such as in this April article by BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner — is that the US is wary of trusting Pakistan’s ISI that is accused of facilitating the Taliban.
But experts said it’s more a matter of logistics.
Bahrain and Oman in the Gulf are also possible candidates. Both countries host bases of the American NATO ally UK. But a flight from these countries can take hours for it to reach a target in Afghanistan.
“Biggest limitation is the range. Reaper drones have significant range but you want them as close to the region as possible because you want them in the air hovering as long as you possibly can,” said Woods of Airwars.
“And the further distance that they have to travel the less time they have in the air, which is of course the value of the drone.”

Source: TRT World


Analysis
Devil Pact of Old nemesis

The old nemesis enabled the CIA to conduct covert drone operations on Pakistani citizens from Pakistani soil. Up until July 2018, this shameful past government publicly condemned CIA drone attacks while in fact allowing them. As long as Imran is in power, we have not seen a single drone attack by the CIA since he is in power in July 2018, and Imran takes these attacks very seriously against the Pakistani people. IK has stood solid on innocent people's lives, but we have to pay the price for that. While opposition leaders messed up Parliament sessions and blamed the government, they publicly stated that they were working hard to remove Imran Khan's government so CIA drones again can kill all Pakistanis.
Ye jo baar baar Na Na, No No kr rahy hain daal main kuchh kala zaroor hai
 

That Guy

PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST
Mar 29, 2013
11,831
39
15,038
Country
Pakistan
Location
Canada
So long as Pakistan's generals don't start getting funny ideas and go around IK's government on the issue, it's simply not gonna happen.

A thought just occurred to me: A solution could be to allow a US carrier along Pakistan's coast where the air corridor is located in balochistan, and allow the US to conduct air strikes through that. Of course, the US wouldn't be allowed to dock their carrier in Pakistan and would have to use the close Arab ports. This would allow Pakistan to allow the US to conduct air strokes within Afghanistan, but also keep its word on not allowing a US base within Pakistan.

@SQ8 @Bilal Khan (Quwa)
 

Tomcats

FULL MEMBER
Jan 24, 2020
915
0
1,018
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Its not a matter of logistics, its a matter of access of airspace which is being denied by pakistan as of now......
No it isn't aircraft are still ale to pass through our Airspace.
At this point a base wont be serve to strike the Taliban but more like strike ISKP and AQ to prevent them from gaining traction, either that or some other GeoPol reasons.
 

Genghis khan1

SENIOR MEMBER
Aug 22, 2015
3,957
1
5,125
Country
Pakistan
Location
United States
It is a fairly trivial exercise to calculate out the additional resources that need to be deployed to maintain the same loitering coverage from a base 400 miles away compared to one 800 miles (say) or more away.
The issue is not just resources, if Drones are flying from Oman then the distance from Kabul to Muscat is 1600 km. So drone with 200 km/hr speed will take 16 hrs just traveling to and from the base. Then there is international Airtraffic in the route.
 

bafxet

FULL MEMBER
Sep 13, 2015
1,094
0
817
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Good decision. American take benefit and than dump Pakistan. They aren't our genuine friend.
 

Vapnope

SENIOR MEMBER
Nov 11, 2015
4,993
15
8,665
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Pakistan and US will agree on a mechanism regarding Afghanistan. It is only matter of time despite all the tall statements.

Leaving this comment for everyone's record.
 

khanmubashir

FULL MEMBER
Aug 13, 2014
1,894
0
1,639
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Actually, they are still flying through Balochistan. Although the Americans have said that they won't strike the Taliban once they have completed the withdrawal process.

Transport flights not strike packages
Imran is against it public is against it China is against it
Second what's the point of removing military then

USA already knows taliban would not make amends with Kabul regime and destroy it
And at that USA would need alot more to stop em then a few drone strike and CIA black ops
This having bases in vicinity for drone strike is just bs fed to USA law makers apprehensive about withdrawal


In heart Americans know they lost
 
Last edited:

khanmubashir

FULL MEMBER
Aug 13, 2014
1,894
0
1,639
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
No it isn't aircraft are still ale to pass through our Airspace.
At this point a base wont be serve to strike the Taliban but more like strike ISKP and AQ to prevent them from gaining traction, either that or some other GeoPol reasons.
For that even Pakistan can lend a hand USA doesn't need to base it's drones in Pakistan just give digital intelligence to Pak
And Pak will strike Isis as that group is competing with Taliban so taliban would have no problem as long as taken into confidence
 

Dalit

ELITE MEMBER
Mar 16, 2012
14,634
-16
27,385
Country
Pakistan
Location
Netherlands
you anti-NATO, anti-CIA folks really don't get it, do you?

you cheer when Muslims strike the west, even when only civilians die.

you say Muslim civilian deaths are excusable martyrs when killed by other Muslims (usually extremists).

you largely refuse to keep your territories clean from muslim terrorists yourselves.

but you cry foul in the loudest tones when the west defends itself against Muslim extremists and create some innocent casualties because muslim extremists always hide behind human shields.

keep your f-ing houses in order, so that we don't come have to do it for you again in the future.
Bro, your sole focus should be to accommodate Afghan translators. Don't abandon them. They need your help.

Forget Afghanistan now. You are leaving and victors are stepping in. Accept defeat. You are never coming in again. Let me assure you. 20 years of humiliation and loss should be enough to teach you. Right now, it is China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran and Turkey time. Deal with it.
 
Last edited:

xyx007

SENIOR MEMBER
Nov 27, 2017
2,702
5
4,077
Country
Pakistan
Location
Pakistan
Doesn't matter really, it was only pukhtoons & Baloch that got killed, they weren't really Pakistani anyway.

Got paid handsomely, and played the game mil won't take action, mil says government doesn't give order.

Everyone is a winner.
However, as a Pakistani listen to our PM's response during an interview with HBO and feel proud today because the prior gov. could not make such an answer,

and I will tell you one more thing - Pakistan's foreign policy has reincarnated from defensive to offensive. enough is enough.

Pakistan Zindabad.
 

Dalit

ELITE MEMBER
Mar 16, 2012
14,634
-16
27,385
Country
Pakistan
Location
Netherlands
However, as a Pakistani listen to our PM's response during an interview with HBO and feel proud today because the prior gov. could not make such an answer,

and I will tell you one more thing - Pakistan's foreign policy has reincarnated from defensive to offensive. enough is enough.

Pakistan Zindabad.
Nawazoo and Zardari would be praising the Western female journo for her beauty.
 

VCheng

ELITE MEMBER
Sep 29, 2010
41,737
55
35,293
Country
Pakistan
Location
United States
The issue is not just resources, if Drones are flying from Oman then the distance from Kabul to Muscat is 1600 km. So drone with 200 km/hr speed will take 16 hrs just traveling to and from the base. Then there is international Airtraffic in the route.
So what? Its endurance and service ceiling makes those distances perfectly feasible. One or more can loiter and several others are going to and from the area of deployment. And that is without aerial refueling, BTW.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)


Top Bottom