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More Drones, Less Diplomacy

December 17, 2009

According to a recent news story, the Obama administration has decided to increase its use of military drones and video surveillance in Afghanistan/Pakistan.

According to US Air Force General David Deptula, the drones will meet the needs of 30,000 more troops set to be sent to the country next year.”

The Obama administration continues to claim that the drones are being used to attack both Taliban and Al Qaeda insurgents. However, some news reports have said that as many as 600 civilians in Pakistan alone have been killed in the past year in some 70 drone bombings. In addition, a United Nations official who deals with Extrajudicial Executions is also questioning whether or not the use of drones by the US is in violation of International Law.

At the same time most major news agencies have ignored recent reports that the Taliban made an offer to the Obama administration that it will not meddle “in the internal affairs of other countries and is ready to give legal guarantees if foreign forces withdraw from Afghanistan.

Independent journalist Gareth Porter says that it is not sure whether or not this will mean that the Taliban has renounced any and all ties with the Al Qaeda, but it is clear that the Taliban is responding to the Obama administration’s recent announcement to escalate the war by sending 30,000 more combat troops.

The only mainstream US news source to report on the Taliban’s willingness to negotiate was the Wall Street Journal. WSJ reporter Anand Gopal, who has been reporting from Afghanistan for years, wrote the story on December 7th.

Porter points out that those who have suggested that the Taliban are willing to negotiate are being portrayed by the Obama administration as trying to deliberately deceiving the West.

Lastly, Porter mentions in his article that Afghani President Hamid Karzai, in a recent interview with CNN, stated “there is an urgent need for negotiations with the Taliban, and made it clear that the Obama administration had opposed such talks.”

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