CommonDreams & PressTV – 2013-02-15 11:43:28
Five Afghan Children Among Ten Civilians Killed in NATO/US Drone Attack
(February 15, 2013) — Afghan officials say that five children are among the ten civilians killed by a US/NATO missile attack in eastern Afghanistan on Wednesday.
“Four women and five children were killed, and five children wounded. One man, who was the leader of the family, was also killed, according to reports from the site,” a man named Farid told The Guardian’s local correspondent by telephone. Farid is the chief of staff to the governor of Kunar Province, where the missile strike took place.
As Reuters reports:
The strike, in the Shigal district of Kunar province, was confirmed by NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), though a spokesman said it could not confirm civilian casualties.
“Foreign forces carried out the attack by themselves without informing us,” Kunar Governor Fazlullah Wahidi told Reuters.
The suspected drone attack, though not confirmed in all its details due to the remote nature of the village where it occurred, took place just hours after President Obama delivered his State of the Union address in Washington.
Though the president said troop “drawdowns” would continue and the “war in Afghanistan would come to an end in 2014,” Obama made clear that counter-terrorism efforts, like the drone targeting program behind strikes such as this that have claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people in recent years, will be very much a part of the ongoing military and counter-terrorism campaign in the region.
As many experts contend, however, the continued use of missile attacks from remotely-controlled US drones that kill innocent civilians–and often children–are only exacerbating instability, fueling anger, and prolonging violent conflict in Afghanistan and wherever such methods are deployed.
In this particular case, as The Guardian reports: “The Nato-led coalition declined to confirm whether there had been an air strike in the area overnight, saying only that it was looking into allegations of civilian casualties.”
US Drone Operators, Cyber Troops
To Get Distinguished Medal: Pentagon
(February 14, 2013) — The Pentagon says it is creating the Distinguished Warfare Medal that can be awarded to those US troops who launch assassination drone strikes and direct cyber attacks.
The outgoing US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, said on Wednesday that the US drone operators and those who direct cyber attacks would be eligible to receive the medal for their direct impact on a US military operation from afar.
“I’ve seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems, have changed the way wars are fought,” Panetta said.
The United States uses its assassination drones in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, claiming that they target â€˜terrorists.’ The attacks, however, have mostly led to massive civilian casualties.
According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent organization, the US administration has used 363 of its assassination drones to hit targets in Pakistan since 2004.
In September 2012, a report by the Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law gave an alarming account of the effect that assassination drone strikes have on ordinary people in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The US drone strikes were initiated under former US President George W. Bush, but have escalated under President Barack Obama.
The United Nations says the airstrikes are targeted killings that flout international law.
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