Thursday, 27 January 2011

Wired: Stats Back Al-Qaida Claim of Drone Pain

Wired Magazine's Danger Room today delivers reports of statistical studies—combined with anecdotal evidence gathered from intelligence—that suggest that America's "drone war" against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and North-West Pakistan is starting to see some (modest) results:
Is the U.S. drone war in Pakistan putting the squeeze on al-Qaida’s safe havens? It’s not a question that lends itself to easy answers, given the difficulties of reporting from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where al-Qaida’s top leaders are believed to be. But a new statistical analysis by researchers at Harvard finds that the deadly robots overhead are reaping modest “counterterrorism dividends” — something that al-Qaida itself is complaining about.

Ustadh Ahmad Farooq, a leading al-Qaida propagandist in Pakistan, says in a new audio message that the terrorist network is “losing people” and “facing shortages of resources” in the area, thanks in large part to the escalated U.S. drone campaign. And he indicates the safe havens aren’t as safe as they once were.

“There were many areas where we once had freedom, but now they have been lost,” Farooq laments in a January 23 audio message obtained by the terror-trackers at the SITE Intelligence Group. “Our land is shrinking and drones are flying in the sky.”
 Make an effort to read the rest of the article.

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