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Amnesty Slams Civilian Deaths By Drone Attack Killings In Pakistan Clearly “War Crimes” US Drone Strikes In Pakistan

The US has carried out nearly 400 drone attacks inPakistan’s restive tribal districts along the Afghan bordersince 2004, killing between 2,500 and 3,600 people.(File Photo)

ISLAMABAD – The UnitedStates should end the secrecysurrounding its drone campaignin Pakistan and bring thoseresponsible for illegal strikes tojustice, Amnesty Internationalsaid on Tuesday.The rights group said thereappeared to be no justificationfor two drone attacks in northwestPakistan last year, one ofwhich killed a 68-year-oldgrandmother as she picked vegetables.Amnesty’s call came on the eveof White House talks betweenUS President Barack Obamaand Pakistani Prime MinisterNawaz Sharif, at which thedrone attacks are expected to bediscussed. The US has carriedout nearly 400 drone attacks inPakistan’s restive tribal districtsalong the Afghan border since2004, killing between 2,500 and3,600 people, according to theLondon-based Bureau ofInvestigative Journalism.Washington says they are animportant and effective tool inthe fight against militants likedto the Taliban and al-Qaida,who have strongholds in thetribal areas. But critics say hundredsof innocent civilians havedied in the strikes.Amnesty said that without moretransparency it was impossibleto test US claims that the attacksare based on reliable intelligenceand conform to internationallaw. “Secrecy surrounding thedrones programme gives the USadministration a licence to killbeyond the reach of the courtsor basic standards of internationallaw,” said Mustafa Qadri,the group’s Pakistan researcher.US President Barack Obamamounted a defence of the dronewar in May as legal and just andthe best way to counter terrorplots against Americans.But they are very unpopular inPakistan, where the governmentcondemns them publicly ascounterproductive and a violationof sovereignty.Amnesty’s drone report publishedon Tuesday focused on45 confirmed strikes in theNorth Waziristan tribal agencybetween January 2012 andAugust 2013.

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