The Sabaoon School for boys in Swat Valley aims to “de-radicalize” local youth, aged 8-18. Its attendees have all been involved in some form of militant activity. The school’s director claims the teenagers turn to crime, unsurprisingly, as a result of poverty and poor education – and this makes them ideal recruits for Taliban scouts who tell them horror stories of U.S. drone strikes.
The U.N. Special Rapporteur on drones, British lawyer Ben Emmerson, recently visited Pakistan and told CNN: “The consequence of drone strikes has been to radicalize an entirely new generation.”
Emmerson went on: “Through the use of drones you may win the immediate battle you are waging against this particular faction or that particular faction … but you are losing the war in the longer term.”
Moreover, such strikes “legalize” al-Qaeda’s own fight against the U.S. He said: “If it is lawful for the U.S. to drone al Qaeda associates whereever they find them, then it is also lawful for al Qaeda to target U.S. military or infrastructure where ever (militants) find them.”