Drone strikes have 'minimal' impact on militant recruits: Report

By AFP
Published: May 21, 2013

The ICG said the report was primarily based on interviews in Pakistan with "stakeholders in the legal, political and NGO communities, as well as activists, journalists and researchers".

ISLAMABAD: US drone strikes in Pakistan have a “minimal” impact on militant recruitment, a respected think tank said Tuesday, contrary to arguments the controversial programme creates more extremists than it kills.

The Brussels-based International Crisis Group (ICG) said however the missile strikes in Pakistan’s lawless tribal zones were not a long-term solution to militancy and urged Washington to be more open about the clandestine campaign.

Washington regards the drone campaign, which has killed up to 3,587 people since 2004 according to the Britain’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as a valuable tool in the fight against Taliban and al Qaeda.

The missile strikes have also reportedly killed hundreds of civilians and opponents say this acts as a recruiting tool for militant outfits, but the ICG report published Tuesday downplayed this argument.

“The actual benefit to extremist groups, including in terms of recruitment, appears, however, minimal,” the report said.

The “Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan” paper said the main causes of militancy in the seven tribal districts along the Afghan border were domestic.

“These include the absence of the state and insecurity due to the resulting political, legal and economic vacuum and the military’s support of, provision of sanctuaries to, and peace deals with militant groups,” it said.

The new government of Nawaz Sharif should base its counter-terror strategy around bringing the tribal regions into the legal and constitutional mainstream, ICG said.

Harsh laws dating back to the British colonial era which still apply in the tribal areas should be repealed, the report urged, and bringing violent extremists to justice within the Pakistani legal system would remove Washington’s perceived need to carry out drone strikes in the tribal belt.

Washington should develop a more rigorous framework for drone attacks, the ICG said, to ensure they complied with international law, and transfer the programme from the CIA to the Defense Department.

The ICG said the report was primarily based on interviews in Pakistan with “stakeholders in the legal, political and NGO communities, as well as activists, journalists and researchers”.

Sharif, who emerged victor from the May 11 general election, has called the drone strikes a “challenge” to his country’s sovereignty and said Washington must take Pakistani concerns about them seriously.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Mirza
    May 21, 2013 - 9:44PM

    “The “Drones: Myths and Reality in Pakistan” paper said the main causes of militancy in the seven tribal districts along the Afghan border were domestic.

    “These include the absence of the state and insecurity due to the resulting political, legal and economic vacuum and the military’s support of, provision of sanctuaries to, and peace deals with militant groups,” it said.”
    This report not only explores the truth and reasons of militancy in FATA but also talks about how to improve it. Of course it would go on deaf ears in Pakistani establishment. It also proves that there is no increased militancy due to drone strikes.
    I agree with this report and it is a great achievement of civilized world to rid our country of several thousand hardened fanatic terrorists for good.Recommend

  • John Bradley
    May 22, 2013 - 12:36AM

    @Mirza:
    The several thousand you are referring to from the Bureau of Investigative Journalism were “people”. It doesn’t mention how many were confirmed as terrorists. Assuming their guilt is hardly “civilized” behavior.

    Recommend

  • Non-Mirza
    May 22, 2013 - 1:43AM

    How did a Brussels based organisation interview militants and would be militants about their career choices. What was the sample size. All I can think of is its all rubbish. Most NGOs run on American funding and War profiteering is a BIG bu$$iness!

    Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    May 22, 2013 - 5:36AM

    @Mirza:
    Dear Mirza,
    Why do I have a feeling you believe in Santa Clause. There is absolutely no evidence to back-up the Brussels based ICG. Most of the 3,587 people killed by drones are innocent men, women and children. The militants are trained to avoid drones. Incidentally, do you know who really controls the ICG or have you even thought about it?

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  • numbersnumbers
    May 22, 2013 - 8:22AM

    @Sexton Blake:
    WOW, you say that “Most of the 3,587 people killed by drones are innocent men, women and children”, but that number you quote comes from Britain’s “Bureau of Investigative Journalism” who have repeatedly stated that the overwhelming majority of those killed in Drone Strikes are Militants!!!
    Also pleaser tell us WHO “really controls” the ICG since you appear to know!!

    Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    May 22, 2013 - 8:43AM

    @numbersnumbers:
    Dear numbersnumbers,
    The controllers are the same people who control US/NATO/UK etc, etc, etc. If you cannot work it out it will be difficult to help you.

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  • numbersnumbers
    May 22, 2013 - 9:19AM

    @Sexton Blake:
    So, once again, please “help us” by saying just WHO “controls” the ICG (and US/NATO/UK etc etc etc as you ALSO suggest) since you appear to know???

    Recommend

  • Sexton Blake
    May 22, 2013 - 12:12PM

    @numbersnumbers:
    Dear numbersnumbers,
    I do not see my role as being one of giving geopolitical lectures to the simple minded. Additionally, I live in a country, as in most European countries, where one can go to prison for telling the truth. However, I did note that a submission to the UN stated that the number of innocents killed as against militants was 50 to1. But then killing innocents is what the American military has always been good at.

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  • Caribbean Critic
    May 22, 2013 - 8:59PM

    @ numbersnumbers Looking at the membership of the Brussels based I.C.G. it is quite clear that you have not perused that list, it is also clear that the majority of the senior members belong to the group I know as the Anglo American Zionist alliance! The whole tenet of the article is Hillary Clintonesque in it’s approach i.e. we can kill you and your family but your not supposed to get angry by killing us ! taken from the Typical Jewish Torah attitude!
    This unholy Alliance of Jews and Western Christians has always taken the route that killing the women and children at every opportunity is easiest and best as it denies the enemy future male adults to fight back with. It is clear you have very little knowledge of Pakistan and it’s efforts using their military to quell the freedom fighters usually called militants or Taliban or Haquiny network members. But hey this does not stop this same Group the I.C.G. from funding arming and generally supporting these same people who have been transported from the same region to Syria to fight in the foreign led war against Busher Al Assad.!

    Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    May 22, 2013 - 10:44PM

    @Caribbean Critic:
    WOW, so it’s all because of (drum roll please, wait for it…….) DA JEWS!!!!!
    Sounds like a page out of conspiracy theory 101 textbooks!!!!
    By the way, your “beloved” FREEDOM FIGHTERS have slaughtered 30,000 plus Pakistanis (and probably maimed and crippled twice that number) over the past decade or so!!
    How does that fit in you Pakistani knowledge base???
    PLEASE provide us some credible references that say the ICG is “funding, arming and generally supporting etc etc” the Arab Spring movement in Syria!

    Recommend

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