When we reached the city of Tank, near South Waziristan, we met quite a few people who had fled from this region due to violence there. They came from different tribes. They spent the evening with us, showing us pictures of loved ones they’ve lost and telling us their stories. One had lost his son, who was hit by a drone as he was walking home from school. He said 15 other people died in that attack. Another told us of children studying in school, when a drone hit the building and killed them. And they were not studying how to make bombs! One man I met, who was elderly, had lost his leg in a drone attack. He asked the Americans travelling with us, ‘I have nothing to do with terrorism; can America explain why they chose me?’ Yet the locals thanked the Americans, and those from the United Kingdom as well, for coming so far to meet them.
These people were quite friendly, but also very angry. I believe that drone attacks do nothing but incite hatred of the West in the hearts of Pakistanis. When innocent peoples' families are killed, of course some of them will be tempted to get revenge against those responsible.
“Our country not longer has sovereignty”
Our government is letting the US attack its own people with drones, and that’s shameful. It means our country no longer has sovereignty. We need a brave new government to stop this madness. And we need citizens of the United States to ask their government to stop spending their taxes on the drone program, as I have no hope the US election will change anything – neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney have pledged to stop sending drones.
The solution is not to send troops to catch terrorists instead of drones – the United States knows that the tribal areas would fight back, and this would result in another Afghanistan. So the only solution left is to start a dialogue.