There was another drone attack inside Pakistani territory on May 12 that again killed a number of innocent people. The CIA has carried out at least 16 Predator strikes in Pakistan in the first four months of this year, compared with 36 strikes in all of 2008. The missile strikes have killed about 161 people in Pakistan since Barack Obama's inauguration. There is no way of knowing how many of those were civilians. I think the big question is not whether the US attacks are a challenge to Pakistan's sovereignty or not but whether these attacks indeed hit their targets and actually kill the men they are supposed to kill. The fact is the Predator missile strikes purportedly aimed at Al-Qaeda targets often go astray, enraging the ordinary people in the FATA areas and threatening the government in Islamabad. David Kilcullen is no soft-headed peacenik. He's a beefy, 41-year-old former Australian army officer who served in Iraq as a top advisor to US Army General David H. Petraeus. He's one of the counterinsurgency warriors and theorists who designed the successful 'Petraeus surge' of troops in Baghdad. A few days ago, when a Congressman asked Kilcullen what the US government should do in Pakistan, the Australian guerrilla fighter sounded like an antiwar protester. "We need to call off the drones". In the arid valleys of western Pakistan, the US is fighting a strange, long-distance war against Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and their Pakistani allies. Unmanned drone airplanes take off from secret runways, seek out suspected terrorists and with CIA employees at the remote controls, fire missiles to blow them up. Only one problem: Kilcullen says the missile strikes are backfiring. Kilcullen's objection is practical. He says the strikes are creating more enemies than they eliminate. Will the Obama administration pay heed to Kilcullen's advice? -ESCHMALL SARDAR, Peshawar, via e-mail, May 12.