Things are kind of hinky in Warzirastan for the bad guys. The Talib and AQ are finding those sneaky drones are changing the way they have to live, fight and train:
The strikes have cast a pall of fear over an area that was once a free zone for Al Qaeda and the Taliban, forcing militants to abandon satellite phones and large gatherings in favor of communicating by courier and moving stealthily in small groups, they said.
Since their strike against the CIA base in Afghanistan, life has not improved for the terrorists. In fact, with the drones flying 24/7 their lives have gotten appreciably worse. And the strikes have also sharpened tensions between the terrorists and the civilian base they're so dependent upon:
The strikes have sharpened tensions between the local tribesmen and the militants, who have dumped bodies with signs accusing the victims of being American spies in Miram Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, they said.
This relatively cheap way of taking the war to them has caused a complete change in the way they are forced to conduct business:
The impact of the drone strikes on the militants’ operations — on freedom of movement, ability to communicate and the ease of importing new recruits to replace those who have been killed — has been difficult to divine because North Waziristan, at the nether reaches of the tribal area, is virtually sealed from the outside world.
Tactics used just a year ago to avoid the drones could not be relied on, he said. It is, for instance, no longer feasible to sleep under the trees as a way of avoiding the drones. “We can’t lead a jungle existence for 24 hours every day,” he said.
Militants now sneak into villages two at a time to sleep, he said. Some homeowners were refusing to rent space to Arabs, who are associated with Al Qaeda, for fear of their families’ being killed by the drones, he said.
The militants have abandoned all-terrain vehicles in favor of humdrum public transportation, one of the government supporters said.
The Arabs, who have always preferred to keep at a distance from the locals, have now gone further underground, resorting to hide-outs in tunnels dug into the mountainside in the Datta Khel area adjacent to Miram Shah, he said.
When you can change your enemy's tactics, limit his mobility and ability to communicate, begin to remove him from his base of support and thereby isolate him, you're doing something right.
Drones won't win this fight, but they damn sure can degrade the enemy's ability to wage war effectively. I say, drone on.