US drone campaign targeted rescuers, mourners: Report

Published: February 6, 2012

Investigation reports drone strikes kill at least 50 civilians who had gone to help victims, 20 in funerals.

KARACHI: The CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan, which is aimed to drive out militants who infiltrate the country through the restive Afghan border, have reportedly been targeting civilians involved in rescuing the victims or were attending funerals.

According to an investigation by the Bureau for the Sunday Times, the drone not only targeted the militants but also the civilians who had gone to help the victims targeted by the drones.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan acknowledged “tactical advantages” to US drone strikes on the Taliban and al Qaeda, but appeared to shrug off the unexpected confirmation by Washington of attacks on its soil.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abdul Basit had said that drone strikes are “unlawful, counterproductive and hence unacceptable.”

The remarks from Pakistan’s foreign ministry came as President Barack Obama confirmed for the first time that drone aircraft had targeted militants in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal areas on the Afghan border.

Contrary to Obama’s claim that the drone strikes were “focused and targeted” and has not cost a huge number of civilians deaths, the research by the Bureau revealed that since Obama took office three years ago, between 282 and 535 have  been reported dead. The casualties include over 60 children.

The investigation cited eye witness reports and evidence that drone strikes killed at least 50 civilians who had gone to help victims, whereas, over 20 civilian deaths were reported in deliberate strikes on funerals and mourners.

The drone strikes were initiated under the administration of former US president George W Bush; however, they have been intensified under Obama.

There have been 260 drone attacks so far by unmanned drones – Predators or Reapers – which on an average count as one every four days. The information about the attacks carried out by CIA is kept confidential.

The CIA operates a covert drone programme which targets suspected militants in countries like Pakistan.

The drones conduct intelligence and reconnaissance missions and fire missiles at the enemy.

US officials have described drones as a very effective tool for eliminating high-value enemies in northwest Pakistan, where human intelligence is hard to come by because anyone who provides it risks the wrath of militants.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (13)

  • Anon
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:44AM

    The most obvious news that everyone knew all along. Americans deserve what they are getting in Afghanistan.

    Recommend

  • IFTIKHAR-UR-REHMAN
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:28PM

    Murderers !! Killers!!!

    Recommend

  • pakistani
    Feb 6, 2012 - 12:39PM

    these killed, injuried figures are completely wrong. A lot more has been killed, injuired in these barbaric attack.

    and then we live in ‘civilized’ world, where US will kill 50 innonce life just to murder one ‘terriorist’ taliban.

    Recommend

  • Hussain
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:34PM

    Allowed by Pak govt and army, Drone will go in Pakistan wherever USA want and killing people for fun. Were is international human right and amnesty international?

    I believe more money has been paid to Pak govt to allow drone activities and USA is showing its capabilities of global terrorism.

    Recommend

  • antanu g
    Feb 6, 2012 - 1:36PM

    no point in wasting precious space for such items. had US ever cared for innocent lives when it comes to fulfill its sinister agenda?

    Recommend

  • Mj
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:14PM

    Why has no one raised the point that the publication Sunday Times is a tabloid not known for its accuracy, and has previously reported that the aids being caused by hiv as a myth and erroneously public the faked memoir of Hitler. This newspaper is a tabloid and treat it as such.

    Recommend

  • Someone
    Feb 6, 2012 - 3:17PM

    Pakistan should continue to support the Taliban and target Americans in Afghanistan

    Recommend

  • John B
    Feb 6, 2012 - 4:39PM

    Taliban militants also claim they are civilians. There are two sides to the coin, and readers should read all the drone stories on the Sunday Times. The “rescuers” were typically the buddies ie. Taliban in waiting, who were with the militants just before they went out for their “mission”, and they were the witnesses also, most part. So, make your own judgment readers, not what is being reported.

    Recommend

  • Shakky
    Feb 6, 2012 - 10:00PM

    Lets put it in perspective. Every Taliban that is killed in a drone attack means one less suicide bomber which, in turn, means hundreds of innocent lives saved. So which would we rather have – an end to the drone attacks or hundreds of innocent lives saved? Regardless of their collateral damage (and the statistics are a bit dubious on this), the drones are saving the lives of innocent Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • bangash
    Feb 6, 2012 - 11:40PM

    Keep shooting at terrorists and ignore these attention seeking anti-droners.

    Recommend

  • Nasir
    Feb 7, 2012 - 2:38AM

    The fact is that if we do not want to deal with terrorists then the Americans will have to do it for us. My only wish is that drones start targeting our inner cities where many terrorist leaders are sitting under the nose of the authorities

    Recommend

  • Saad
    Feb 7, 2012 - 8:18AM

    It literally makes me cry how someone can justify killing of innocent people, be it be by butcher Talibans or be it by American drones, the Talibans aren’t the only targets people .. Last November a 16 year old boy, Tariq came to Islamabad to attend a meeting to protest against drone attacks targeting his village, 2 days later he went back to his village and himself became a target, people please have some heart for children like him .. Americans themselves don’t know who they are killing, first they lied about Iraq and now they’re lying about Iran, to know what’s going on in these drone targeted areas, one has to first go their instead of calling every resident of that area a terrorist, has there been ANY benifit from these drones yet? Please for the sake of these children and their mothers !!

    Recommend

  • Keith
    Feb 9, 2012 - 8:43PM

    Let’s not talk about how many innocent civilians would have been killed if the terrorists had actually stayed alive and been allowed to operate in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    In war, civilian casualties. Better a few hundred in the FATA then thousands in Lahore, Karachi, Kabul, etc.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan