President orders air strikes on villages in tribal area
* Ewen MacAskill in Washington
* The Guardian, Saturday 24 January 2009
* Article history
Villagers demonstrate in in Laghman province as president Hamid Karzai condems Sunday’s military operation and says 16 civilians were killed Link to this video
Barack Obama gave the go-ahead for his first military action yesterday, missile strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan which killed at least 18 people.
Four days after assuming the presidency, he was consulted by US commanders before they launched the two attacks. Although Obama has abandoned many of the “war on terror” policies of George Bush while he was president, he is not retreating from the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders.
The US believes they are hiding in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan, and made 30 strikes last year in which more than 200 people were killed. In the election, Obama hinted at increased operations in Pakistan, saying he thought Bush had made a mistake in switching to Iraq before completing the job against al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan.