John Glaser / Anti-War.com & Haji Mujtaba / Reuters & Usman Manzoor / The News – 2012-01-13 03:08:51
Pakistan Condemns Resumption of Drone War
John Glaser / Anti-War.com
(January 12, 2012) — The resumption of US drone strikes inside Pakistan are counterproductive and violate Pakistani sovereignty, Pakistan’s foreign office said on Thursday. “Pakistan has a clear position on drone attacks [which have] a disadvantage over tactical benefits,” said the foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit in his weekly briefing at the Foreign Office. The spokesperson also said these attacks occur without Pakistani permission, violate their sovereignty, and would not be condoned.
US drone attacks resumed on Tuesday of this week after being suspended in November after an unprovoked US attack on a Pakistani military outpost killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and led to heightened tensions between the two countries. On Tuesday, the US launched a drone attack that killed four unidentified individuals and injured several more.
A second drone strike on Thursday hit two cars that were heading towards the border in North Waziristan, killing six unidentified individuals.
A study released this week revealed that 75 drone strikes were launched in 2011, killing 609 people. The vast majority of the victims were never identified publicly, and only three were ever confirmed to be al-Qaeda “commanders.”
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism recently catalogued lengthy findings on civilian casualties in the drone war, counting hundreds of civilians by name who were killed in drone strikes, including at least 168 children. Journalist Noor Behram, who had been on the ground in Pakistan tallying the dead, has estimated that “for every 10 to 15 people killed, maybe they get one militant.”
The Washington Post recently reported [See next story] that the drone war in Pakistan has resulted “in an estimated 1,350 to 2,250 deaths.” But the public doesn’t have an accurate idea of how many have been killed, because “the identitiesâ€¦remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself.”
Drone Strike in NW Pakistan Kills Six Militants
Haji Mujtaba / Reuters
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (January 12, 2012) — A second drone strike in two days killed six militants in North Waziristan in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border on Thursday, intelligence officials said, further marking the resumption of the US campaign paused for almost two months.
The suspected US drone fired two missiles at two cars in the Dogga area of North Waziristan tribal region, killing six.
“The missiles hit two cars that were heading towards the border. Several foreigners were in the cars, but we have no information on their nationalities yet,” an intelligence source told Reuters. The source said there might be more casualties.
The strike comes two days after a similar attack killed four militants in North Waziristan, marking the resumption of the unacknowledged US drone campaign, paused after a November 26 NATO cross-border attack killed 24 Pakistani troops. The last drone strike before Tuesday’s was on November 17.
Such attacks have been used increasingly in recent years in the fight against insurgents in Pakistan’s largely lawless Pashtun tribal areas in the west and northwest who fuel violence across the border in Afghanistan.
Drones armed with missiles have played a significant role in US counter-terrorism operations as the Obama administration winds down the war in Afghanistan and Washington’s focus expands to militant havens in countries including Pakistan.
The Obama administration contends that drone strikes have helped weaken the central leadership of al Qaeda and put associated militant groups on the defensive. Others say the lull since mid-November allowed militants to regroup.
US officials denied the drop-off in attacks was part of a deliberate moratorium on such flights linked to the political and diplomatic uproar over the November air strike. Officials maintained that strikes were based on the availability of targeting intelligence and suggested that such intelligence had been in short supply recently.
(Additional reporting by Saud Mehsud in DERA ISMAIL KHAN, and Jibran Ahmad in PESHAWAR; Writing by Chris Allbritton and Qasim Nauman; Editing by Ron Popeski)
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Drone Strikes Killed 609 People Last Year: Study
Usman Manzoor / The News
ISLAMABAD (January 9, 2012) — The United States carried out 75 drone attacks inside Pakistani territory during 2011 killing 609 people, among them only three were Arab commanders of Al-Qaeda; one was UK’s most wanted and just four were senior commanders of different factions of Pakistani militants, says Conflict Monitoring Centre’s annual report on drone attacks. It says that no drone attack was conducted in December last year.
The report is based on the data collected from mainstream national and international media. “The CIA failed to eliminate more than four Al-Qaeda leaders in its highly costly and controversial â€˜assassination by drones’ campaign inside Pakistan during the year 2011”, the report says.
The report says a total of 303 drone attacks were carried out since 2004 in which 2661 people were killed. The report notes 43 percent decline in drone attacks in 2011 compared to the previous year 2010. The CIA had conducted 132 drone attacks in 2010. The number of fatalities in drone attacks has also dropped by 35 percent.
“Mounting protest and public backlash against drone attacks as well as tension between US and Pakistan during the year led to the decline in drone attacks. The US has suspended drone attacks after an attack by NATO helicopters on a Pakistani military check post on November 26, 2011”, the report says.
“An unprecedented increase in drone attacks in South Waziristan was observed during the year. In the past, drone attacks in South Waziristan were rare as 90 percent of the attacks in 2010 occurred in North Waziristan. During 2011, South Waziristan was more frequently targeted.
Drone attacks in South Waziristan increased by 60 percent. During 2010, which was the deadliest year in the history of drone attacks in Pakistan only 9 out of 132 strikes were carried out in South Waziristan. But in 2011 the number of attacks increased to 23. In North Waziristan, the CIA carried out 50 strikes while two strikes were carried out in Kurram Agency.”
“American drones fired 242 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles during the year and destroyed 38 houses, 37 vehicles, one camp and a Madrassa. One such missile costs $68000 which means the CIA spent $16.456 million or Rs1.5 billion to kill 609 people. The cost of a single casualty was $27000 or Rs2.4 million.”
“Contrary to American claims of only 50 civilian deaths during past eight years, a UK-based media organisation, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, confirmed that a minimum of 391 and a maximum of 780 innocent civilians including 175 children have so far been killed in drone attacks.”
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