Jan 30, 2006
On January 13, the CIA ordered the bombing of the village of Damadola located in northwest Pakistan near the Afghanistan border. The raid was carried out by pilotless planes, called Predators, armed with missiles. Eighteen villagers were killed, including eight women and five children. CNN reported that Ayman al-Zawahiri, supposedly #2 in al-Qaida, was the target. According to information furnished to the CIA, Zawahiri had been to the village for a dinner.
CNN immediately announced Zawahiri was likely to be among the dead. But he was not. Not only did the deaths enrage a small Pashtun village, they most certainly intensified the resentment of this population against the U.S. presence in the area. Thousands of Pakistanis demonstrated across the country, especially in the largest city of the south, Karachi. Even the government of the military dictator Pervez Musharraf, allied with the United States, felt obliged to condemn the U.S. raid and to call the U.S. ambassador to Islamabad to issue an “official protest.”
Two things are clear: the Pakistani secret services gave false intelligence to the U.S. And the Musharraf government still supports U.S. policy in the region, as well as the frequent military intrusions by U.S. armed forces stationed in Afghanistan against poor villages. Eight other people were killed just a week earlier in another U.S. military operation carried out along another border.
The U.S. war in Afghanistan increases the misery of Afghans, Pakistanis and those in nearby northwest India. But people in those areas suffer the impact of the policies of U.S. imperialism in other ways. U.S. imperialism encouraged the development of Islamic fundamentalists to fight the occupation of the USSR in Afghanistan 20 years ago. Today the United States government presents its actions as a fight against the “terrorism” of those very forces it helped develop. Operations such as this criminal raid on the Pashtun village not only reinforce the anger of its inhabitants; they probably also reinforce the influence of fundamentalists who appear today as Bush’s enemies. Facing both, the population pays with its blood.