Collateral damage from drones strikes has lessened: US Senator Feinstein

Senator says despite frictions, they want to see relations with Pakistan to improve. Haqqani Network be declared FTO.

Huma Imtiaz July 23, 2012

WASHINGTON: Senate Committee on Intelligence chairperson Senator Dianne Feinstein says that that collateral damage has been greatly reduced in the drone strikes.

In a speech at an event organised by the World Affairs Council at the National Press Club, Senator Feinstein said that the committee's staff has made 28 visits to various centres as part of their oversight of the drone program, and that the collateral damage from targeted strikes was far less than what was reported in the press.

On Pakistan, Senator Feinstein said that the Abbotabad raid had created friction between the US and Pakistan. She added that it was hard for many of the committee members to believe that Osama Bin Laden had lived in the compound for over five years in a town that had a military community and yet no one knew.

Improved Pak-US relations still desired

In response to a question, Senator Feinstein said that she would like to see improved relations between US and Pakistan, and there was a need to improve the levels of trust between the two countries.

Senator Feinstein added that there was a real need for Pakistan to step up and take action on the rocket attacks from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

Haqqani networks

The Senator said that she is not sure why the State Department has not yet designated the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation in reference to the bill Feinstein had introduced in the Senate earlier this month, calling on the Secretary of State to designate the Haqqani Network as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation.

Senator Feinstein said that the committee would soon release their report on the interrogation and detention of high value detainees, their treatment and custody.

Correction: Senator Feinstein did not mention time period for collateral damage from drone strikes. The error is regretted.