When a drone strike in Kabul killed 10 civilians on August 29, 2021, it was immediately clear that there were seven children among the victims. Now the Pentagon has apologised for its ‘tragic...
When a drone strike in Kabul killed 10 civilians on August 29, 2021, it was immediately clear that there were seven children among the victims. Now the Pentagon has apologised for its ‘tragic mistake’. The Pentagon has claimed that it targeted a suicide bomber of the militant Islamic State group who ‘posed an imminent threat’ to US-led troops at the Kabul airport. It was the last stage of their withdrawal from Afghanistan and there was apparently no need to get that panicky after 20 years of a senseless war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Initially the Pentagon had described the attack as ‘righteous’. Now General Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, has shared the result of an investigation which concluded that the strike was tragically erroneous targeting the family of an aid worker; they were obviously innocent.
The civilian casualties in the past two decades have been horrendous for the people of this region, and the US has a lot to answer for this longest tragedy of the 21st century so far. The US has a history of such ‘mistakes’ based on wrong intelligence reports – the worst being the invasion of Iraq on the pretext of eliminating weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. In the process, a country was reduced to rubble and the war spawned myriads of terrorists groups and countless attacks that destroyed peace in this entire region. Related to this is also the recent remarks by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken blaming Pakistan for various failures of the US in Afghanistan. The decision to invade Afghanistan and then Iraq were entirely American. Both invasions and resultant wars did not produce any positive outcomes apart from death and destruction. Now blaming Pakistan for the chaos the US has created in Afghanistan is entirely unfounded and uncalled for.
Speaking to the Congress, Blinken was visibly trying to look for some scapegoats – and he found a handy one in Pakistan. For the past 40 years or so Pakistan has constantly cooperated with the US in its adventures in this region. In the final analysis, there have been more disadvantages of that cooperation for Pakistan. Apart from losing thousands of civilians and soldiers, Pakistan has suffered billions of dollars in losses incurred to our feeble economy. Blinken’s assertion that Washington would be reassessing its ties with Pakistan sounded more like a threat than a signal of friendship. Such tirades against Pakistan by different US officials are not new, but Pakistan must carefully see which way the US is steering its policy as regards relations with Pakistan. This is an immensely important moment for Pakistan, which must use it well. It would be well advised to steer clear of any future American adventures in this region or anywhere else for that matter.