Pakistan civilian deaths from US drones 'lowest since 2008': Report

Published: July 2, 2012
Three to 24 civilians were reported killed by American CIA drones in Pakistan from January to June. PHOTO: FILE

Three to 24 civilians were reported killed by American CIA drones in Pakistan from January to June. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Fewer civilians have died in US drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year than at any other time in the last four years, a report said Monday.

Three to 24 civilians were reported killed by American CIA drones in Pakistan from January to June, according to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

Reported civilian casualty rates have not been so low since the first half of 2008, when 12-21 civilians reportedly died under former US president George W Bush, it said.

It was also a marked decline on the 62-103 civilians reported killed by drone strikes in Pakistan in the first six months of 2011, the bureau added.

US drones target Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt on the Afghan border, where journalists and aid workers do not have independent access.

The programme is covert, but US officials have defended the attacks as a vital weapon in the war on terror, despite concerns from rights activists over civilian casualties.

The decline in casualties correlates to a decline in attacks as relations between Islamabad and Washington deteriorated since Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan in May 2011 and after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers last November.

According to an AFP tally, 101 US drone strikes were reported in Pakistan in 2010, 64 in 2011 and only 24 so far this year.

Pakistan has also becoming increasingly vocal in its public opposition to the strikes.

It stopped NATO supplies travelling overland into Afghanistan after its soldiers were killed in November. It has yet to reopen the route, demanding a formal apology for the deaths.

According to the bureau, between 2,496 and 3,202 people have been reported killed by drones in Pakistan since 2004. Among them are 482-832 civilians, 175 of them children.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay last month called for a UN investigation into US drone strikes, questioning their legality and saying they kill innocent civilians.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Batman
    Jul 2, 2012 - 9:05PM

    unreliable report. Need proper independent investigation to determine real number of civilian casualities.


  • antanu g
    Jul 2, 2012 - 9:14PM

    Unreliable…..but divine for some US lovers


  • Mirza
    Jul 2, 2012 - 9:24PM

    How many Pakistanis have been blown up and beheaded by the terrorists during this time?


  • Socrates
    Jul 2, 2012 - 9:53PM

    Totally false.
    The other 80% killed are called Terrorists / Militants !!
    It is like the ICC which will take any small criminal to task in Africa and other developing nations. Ever heard the ICC taking to task anyone responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Pakistan !!


  • Imran Haider
    Jul 2, 2012 - 9:54PM

    It is a vey good development that the U.S. is exercising more caution in their use of drones against the terrorists who have blown more than 40,000 Pakistanis into smithereens. Let us hope that the U.S. will leave no stone unturned to completely avoid civilian casualties in the future while pursuing these criminals of humanity. The U.S. should make every effort to win the war on terror from a higher moral and legal ground, otherwise the win will be meaningless.


  • Batman
    Jul 2, 2012 - 10:07PM

    @Mirza, stupid argument, Pakistan has responded to terrorists by killing them. You’re argument would make sense had Pakistan been sitting silent to terrorist attacks but that’s not the case.


  • Cautious
    Jul 2, 2012 - 10:15PM

    Might be worth noting that no first hand investigation has ever been performed by any of the journalist from the The Bureau of Investigative Journalism their investigative reporting is limited to surfing the web and collating data. There prior articles assumed that anyone dead that looked like they might be under 18 was considered an innocent civilian — pretty shoddy investigative journalism.


  • Nand
    Jul 2, 2012 - 10:45PM

    Terrorist do not have a tattoo on their forehead that says ‘terrorist’.


  • antanu g
    Jul 2, 2012 - 11:10PM

    you can not justify one evil because a parallel one has also been done. Your comment lacks humanitarian tone.


  • Imran Con
    Jul 3, 2012 - 4:17AM

    How exactly are these numbers supposed to be considered reliable when the range of possible deaths are as large as 3-24 and 62-103? Especially considering the militant death counts are usually exact or at least in the error range of being off by one or two and those numbers are relayed by Pakistani security officials.


  • Furqan Khan
    Jul 3, 2012 - 5:02AM

    Its so ironic that we havent got the count for the loss of valuable human lives. Shame on us and the so called defenders of Pakistan’s soveriengnity…Recommend

  • Amused
    Jul 3, 2012 - 7:33AM

    @Furqan Khan – The Taliban like to keep their secrets. No reporters or government people allowed. I think if the truth favored them people would be allowed into report.


  • Ahmer Ali
    Jul 3, 2012 - 10:55AM

    What the shameful and awful statement full of effrontery and meanness this is which is published very proudly on ET about the killings of the innocent muslims!!!!!!


  • Hammad
    Jul 3, 2012 - 3:55PM

    Any military aged person hanging out near taliban cannot be a civilian. Anyway, after each drone attack the taliban cordon off the area, collect the bodies and bury them. What we know about civilian casualties actually comes from taliban themselves. Who knows how many civilians were actually there? Only a stupid person would believe taliban propaganda. Pakistani security officials always have an exact number of terrorist deaths.


  • Babar F.
    Jul 4, 2012 - 9:34AM

    So our “brave radicals” not just bomb and kill Pak civilians(upto 30,000) every day, they even take them to be in the news later to even their terrorists camps and compounds.


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