A study at Stanford and New York University titled ‘Living Under Drones’ claimed that only two percent of drone strike casualties in Pakistan are top militants, and that the large number of related civilian deaths turn Pakistanis against the US.
The study revealed that number of casualties among Pakistani civilians was far higher than the US acknowledged.
The researchers spent over nine months in Pakistan questioning survivors and witnesses of drone attacks, and the relatives of those killed by drones. Researchers interviewed over 130 people in total. The Pakistani human rights group Foundation for Fundamental Rights helped the study’s authors locate witnesses.
The researchers claimed that US drone policy in the region has not helped Washington achieve its goal of curbing terrorism in the region. The civilian deaths that mark practically every drone strike on terror suspects in Pakistan’s tribal regions has, rather, achieved the opposite goal: Locals hate the US because of the unceasing fear that death may come from above at any moment.
"US targeted killings and drone strike practices undermine respect for the rule of law and international legal protections and may set dangerous precedents," the report said.
The report claimed that Pakistanis are afraid to attend public events like weddings or funerals, which US drone operators frequently mistake for gatherings of Taliban or Al-Qaeda militants. In March 17, 2011, a drone strike killed an estimated 42 people who were later revealed to be attending a meeting of local elders, called ‘jirga.’ The elders had gathered to settle a dispute over ownership of a chromite mine. Only four out of 42 victims reportedly had terrorist ties.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, from June 2004 till mid-September 2012, between 2,562 and 3,325 people were killed in drone strikes Pakistan, mostly in the North Waziristan region. Some 474 to 881 of those killed were civilians, including 176 children. Another 1,300 were wounded.
Continue Reading: Pakistani civilian deaths in US drone war ‘in vain’ – report — RT
With counter-terrorism strikes hindered by political unrest in Yemen, US officials now say that the CIA will operate drone aircrafts over Yemen, bringing an increased attempt at thwarting al-Qaeda—as well as a cluster of controversy.