Obama victory infuriates Pakistani drone victims
By Randy Fabi and Aisha Chowdhry / reuters.com

The roars celebrating the re-election of U.S. President Barack Obama on television give Mohammad Rehman Khan a searing headache, as years of grief and anger come rushing back.

The 28-year-old Pakistani accuses the president of robbing him of his father, three brothers and a nephew, all killed in a U.S. drone aircraft attack a month after Obama first took office.

"The same person who attacked my home has gotten re-elected," he told Reuters in the capital, Islamabad, where he fled after the attack on his village in South Waziristan, one of several ethnic Pashtun tribal areas on the Afghan border.

"Since yesterday, the pressure on my brain has increased. I remember all of the pain again."

In his re-election campaign, Obama gave no indication he would halt or alter the drone program, which he embraced in his first term to kill al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan without risking American lives.

Drone strikes are highly unpopular among many Pakistanis, who consider them a violation of sovereignty that cause unacceptable civilian casualties.

"Whenever he has a chance, Obama will bite Muslims like a snake. Look at how many people he has killed with drone attacks," said Haji Abdul Jabar, whose 23-year-old son was killed in such a bombing.

Analysts say anger over the unmanned aircraft may have helped the Taliban gain recruits, complicating efforts to stabilize the unruly border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. That could also hinder Obama's plan to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014.

Obama authorized nearly 300 drone strikes in Pakistan during his first four years in office, more than six times the number during the administration of George W. Bush, according to the New America Foundation policy institute.

Since 2004, a total of 337 U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,908 and 3,225 people.

The institute estimates about 15 percent of those killed were non-militants, although that percentage has declined sharply to about 1-2 percent this year. Washington says drone strikes are very accurate and cause minimal civilian deaths.

The Pakistani government says tens of thousands of Pakistanis have been killed in the fight against militants. Many were civilians caught in suicide bombings. Others were killed by the Pakistani army.


Getting accurate data on casualties and the effects of drones is extremely difficult in the dangerous, remote and often inaccessible tribal areas. The Taliban often seal off the sites of strikes.

While the aerial campaign has weakened al Qaeda, its ally, the Pakistani Taliban, remains a potent force despite a series of Pakistan army offensives against their strongholds in the northwest.

Seen as the biggest security threat to the U.S.-backed Pakistani government, that faction of the Taliban is blamed for many of the suicide bombings across Pakistan, and a number of high profile attacks on military and police facilities.

"We are amazed that Obama has been re-elected. But for us there is no difference between Obama and Romney; both are enemies. And we will keep up our jihad and fight alongside our Afghan brothers to get the Americans out of Afghanistan," said Pakistan Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan.

On Thursday, a suicide bomber rammed the gates of a military base in Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, killing at least one soldier and wounding more than a dozen people.

Pakistanis were largely indifferent in the run-up to Tuesday's election, expecting little change to the drone attacks regardless of whether Obama or Republican challenger Mitt Romney won.

"Any American, whether Obama or Mitt Romney, is cruel," Warshameen Jaan Haji, whose neighborhood was struck by a drone last week, told Reuters on the eve of the election. "I lost my wife in the drone attack and my children are injured. Whatever happens, it will be bad for Muslims."

Pakistani politician Imran Khan, a vocal critic of U.S. drone strikes, said he believed Obama stepped up the attacks in his first term so he wouldn't look weak on national security.

"I think Obama essentially has an anti-war instinct," he told Reuters. "Without the worry of being re-elected, he will de-escalate the war, including the use of drones. This is positive."

But for Mohammad Khan, who is not related to the former cricketer, the damage is already done.

The February 2009 drone attack that destroyed his home left him as the main provider for 13 family members, forcing him to move to Islamabad and work with a real estate company.

"When the Sandy hurricane came, I thought that Allah would wipe away America," he said. "America just wants to take over the world."

(Additional reporting by Hafiz Wazir in Wana, Haji Mujtaba in Miranshah and Mehreen Zahra-Malik in Islamabad; Editing by Ron Popeski and Robert Birsel)

4.0 · 1
What's Next
Load Comments
Trending Today
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 5,355 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
People of Nowhere
2 min · 4,421 views today · I have heard and read different opinions about the wave of Syrian refugees who try to make their way in to the EU. Then I went to Lesvos. 7 days on the Greek Island gave me a...
The White Man in That Photo
Riccardo Gazzaniga · 4,387 views today · Sometimes photographs deceive. Take this one, for example. It represents John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s rebellious gesture the day they won medals for the 200 meters at the...
M.I.A. Just Dropped a Killer New Track in Solidarity with Migrants
5 min · 4,328 views today · Borders is dedicate to her uncle Bala, in a tweet posted this morning M.I.A wrote "One of the first Tamil migrants to come to the UK in the '60s who went [on] to inspire so...
John Pilger on Paris, ISIS and Media Propaganda
18 min · 3,649 views today · Afshin goes underground with one of NATO imperialism's greatest chroniclers, John Pilger. The award-winning journalist and filmmaker tells us how Washington, London and Paris...
600 Posters, 80 Artists - Brandalism Crew Take Over Billboards Ahead of Paris Climate Talks
2 min · 3,140 views today · Two days before the launch of the UN COP21 Climate Conference, 600 posters were installed in outdoor media spaces across Paris. 82 Artists from 19 different countries made...
Australian Comedian Perfectly Sums Up Why Other Countries Think US Gun Laws Are Crazy
14 min · 2,331 views today · At least 10 people were killed and 20 others injured when a shooter opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Oregon Thursday, October 1. According to Douglas...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,840 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 1,528 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
The Age of the Demagogues
Chris Hedges · 1,304 views today ·   Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at FreedomFest on July 11 in Las Vegas. (John Locher / AP) The increase in nihilistic violence such as school...
John Pilger: "There Is No War On Terror... There Is A War OF Terror."
3 min · 1,204 views today · John Pilger speaks frankly about the "War on Terror," saying that no such thing exists. "There is a war OF terror," he says, and it is primarily state-sponsored terror, and...
We Created Islamic Extremism: Those Blaming Islam for ISIS Would Have Supported Osama Bin Laden in the '80s
Ben Norton · 1,196 views today · Jingoists conveniently forget the West's Cold War strategy was to arm the Islamic extremists that became al-Qaida
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 1,190 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Confessions of a Walmart Hitman
11 min · 1,140 views today · Former Walmart executive recounts how he would watch Associates sit in the break room during their lunch hour without eating because they couldn't afford food. Walmart banned...
Caitlin Moran's Posthumous Advice for Her Daughter
Caitlin Moran · 1,089 views today · My daughter is about to turn 13 and I’ve been smoking a lot recently, and so – in the wee small hours, when my lungs feel like there’s a small mouse inside them, scratching to...
The Image Hollywood Created of Africa
3 min · 1,049 views today · After viewing Mama Hope's video, "Alex Presents Commando," Gabriel, Benard, Brian and Derrik (the Kenyan men in this video) told us they wanted to make one that pokes fun at...
Unbelievable Photos Show Factory Farms Destroying The American Countryside
Harrison Jacobs · 1,042 views today · Food production has become a race for maximum efficiency. When it comes to producing meat, whether chicken, beef, or pork, that race has fallen at the feet of the so-called...
The Century of the Self (2002)
230 min · 645 views today · The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in...
The Meaning of Mahu
2 min · 598 views today · Mahu is the Hawaiian term for people who embody both male and female spirit - or what Westerners call transgender.  This animated scene from the PBS/Independent Lens film "KUMU...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 596 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Load More
Like us on Facebook?