Saturday, August 18, 2012

Survey reveals US covers up civilian victims of drone strikes in Pakistan

Detailed information from the families of those killed in US drone strikes in Pakistan and from local sources show that the majority of the causalities have been civilians.

The data from the two separate sources covering 24 drone strikes from 2008 through 2011 show that civilian casualties accounted for 74 percent of the death toll whereas official figures published on the website of the New America Foundation (NAF) put the number at 30 percent.

The evidence also shows that the NAF death toll was sharply reduced by automatically considering any military-age male killed in a drone strike as a "militant" unless intelligence proved otherwise. The method was adopted by the US government in 2009.

The aerial attacks were initiated by former US President George W. Bush but have been escalated under President Barack Obama.

On January 31, US President Barack Obama confirmed that the US uses the drones in Pakistan and other countries.

Washington claims that its airstrikes target militants, but local sources say civilians have been the main victims of the attacks.

The UN has called the US drone attacks targeted killings that flout international law.

The killing of Pakistani civilians, including women and children, in the US drone strikes has strained relations between Islamabad and Washington, prompting Pakistani officials to send warnings to the US administration over the assaults.

Despite Islamabad’s calls for the US to end its strikes, Washington carries out its attacks on the country’s tribal regions at an almost daily bas

More than 200 people have died in drone attacks in Pakistan's northwest tribal regions since the beginning of this year.

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