Obama’s Deadly Informants: The Drone Spotters of Pakistan
For The Daily Beast with Fakhar Kakakhel:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Half a dozen men sit on the floor in a grimy rented storefront in the crowded Khyber Bazaar. A bottle of locally brewed liquor chills in a water cooler in the corner, a Pepsi bottle next to it for mixing. A Bollywood soundtrack plays in the background. It’s a farewell party for Allah Noor, who has spent the last five years identifying targets in rural Pakistan for U.S. drone strikes.
Noor, as we’ll call him, is tall and wiry. Now in his early thirties, his cheeks are sunken from smoking too much hash. He hasn’t slept in the same place two nights in a row ever since a U.S. drone killed Maulvi Nazir, his former boss, on Jan. 2, 2013. “After that,” he says, “I realized the government is playing a double game.”
“Sometimes I hide in Karachi, or in Rawalpindi, or Hyderabad, or other places. Now I have a visa for the UAE, and I fly out at 9 a.m. tomorrow.” If he doesn’t escape Waziristan soon, there may be a price on Noor’s head.
There is a saying in North Waziristan: The people there are stuck “between drones in the sky, and daggers on the earth.”
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