So far in 2013 Pakistan has been messier than usual, mostly due to brutal “double tap” tactics employed by both radical Sunni militants and busy CIA drones.
The Associated Press reports that a series of bombings on Thursday killed 115 people across the country — including 81 who died in two explosions at a billiards hall — marking the deadliest day in years. The second blast at the pool hall, five minutes after the first, killed police officers, journalists and rescue workers who responded to the initial explosion.
Greg Miller of The Washington Post reports that U.S. drone strike Thursday in North Waziristan was the seventh in 10 days, compared to there being fewer than one per week last year. On January 3 a U.S. drone targeted a vehicle then fired another hellfire missile “when people rushed to the vehicle to help those in the car,” accoring to the AP.
Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal told the Post that as many as 11 civilians, along with 30 militants, have been killed by U.S. drones so far this year. U.S. officials told The Post that reports exaggerate civilian casualties but did not provide an alternate number. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) places the total death toll as high as 64.
Double taps bomb multiple targets in relatively quick succession, meaning that the second strike often hits first responders. Both the FBI and the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings Christof Heyns consider the tactic to be an act of terrorism.
Islamic radicals often combine a suicide bomber and a car bomb (as they did Thursday) to pull off the devastating act while drones simply fire two missiles a few minutes apart.
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