US drones traumatising tribal children

Nabeela, 8, and Naeema, 7, were wounded in a US strike in October.


The buzz of US drones is like the death knell for tribesmen. 

The United States claims that its no-more-covert drone campaign is effective in fighting al Qaeda and their cohorts – but it has unleashed a reign of terror in the tribal region.

Nabeela and Naeema – both cousins and below 10 – survived a recent drone attack in the Tappi area, 15 kilometres from Miramshah, the main town in North Waziristan Agency.

“I was watering animals and my three brothers were harvesting the maize crop when a drone struck,” said Nabeela, 8, sitting alongside her father Rafiqur Rehman in a guest house in Islamabad. Eight members of her family were wounded. Shrapnel from the missiles also hit Nabeela and Naeema. Subsequently, the family fled from their village, perhaps for good.

“I had spotted the drone before it rained missiles. Then I heard a huge explosion. The missiles landed and shrapnel hit all of us,” Nabeela told The Express Tribune. “I do not want the US drones [to] fly over our villages again,” she said, before urging that drone strikes be stopped.


Her cousin Naeema said she was playing with other children when the drone fired missiles, injuring her. “I was hit by shrapnel. I cried in pain as my arm bled,” she said, recalling the horror.

According to a September 2012 US study, US drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more civilians than the US has acknowledged, traumatised innocent tribesmen.

The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law called for re-evaluation of the strategy, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties was extremely low – about 2%, according to CNN.

Rafiqur Rehman, whose mother was killed in the strike, asked: “Was my 65-year-old mother a terrorist or are these little girls terrorists?” He took Nabeela, Naeema and the rest of the injured family members to Islamabad for treatment.

Rehman condemned the gun attack on child activist Malala Yousafzai – but at the same time he said, “I want to ask our government and the world community as to why don’t they raise [their] voice for our children.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2012.


Enlightened | 8 years ago | Reply

@Jat: Appreciate your apt and spot on comments. Indian army has never used aerial and artillery bombardment against militants in Kashmir and North-East to avoid killing of innocent people and destruction of public property, whereas Pak military uses both weopon systems but do not allow journalist/civilians to visit areas bombarded by it. Moreover, Pakistan is allowing militants use of its territory ie NW for launching attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan despite being their ally. US also offered to mount coordinated operations with Pak military in NW which was rejected to save its strategic assets. Therefore, US left with no other alternative is justified using drones attacks which are accurate and killed hundreds of hard core militants and though some civilian might have been killed but Pakistan is totally responsible for the same.

Jat | 8 years ago | Reply

@Truth detector: "drone strike ?"

Please educate me, which country is using F-16s, Thunders, Cobra choppers and heavy artillery on its own population ? One would think the tribal children will be traumatized by such attacks, no ? One wonders, if the bullets fired in to Malala's head at pointblank range, would they have traumatized that brave girl ?

The car bomb attack on Monday in a crowded market in the northwestern town of Jamrud; you think it would traumatize the children in the whole town ? Nah, they would only grow up stronger and brighter, especially after Kaptaan's healing touch.

Just imagine a car full of explosives blowing up, killing 20 people, wounding over 70, more than 20 vehicles burnt, pools of blood and charred pieces of human flesh littering the roadside. Trauma on children ? Nah, not from good Taliban celebrating.

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