Monday, January 09, 2012

Drone attacks remain ineffective against militant leaders: report

* Conflict Monitoring Center’s report says only eight high-value targets killed in 2011, ‘rest were innocent’

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: American intelligence agency CIA has failed to eliminate more than four Al Qaeda leaders in its highly costly and controversial ‘assassination by drones’ campaign inside Pakistan during 2011, revealed an annual report complied by Conflict Monitoring Centre (CMC) on drone attacks.

CMC, an independent research centre, which regularly monitors drone attacks in Pakistan, has prepared an annual report (2011) on drone attacks inside Pakistani territory.

The report notes 43 percent decline in drone attacks during 2011 than 2010. CIA had conducted 132 drone attacks in 2010. The number of fatalities in drone attacks has also dropped by 35 percent. Mounting protest and public backlash against drone attacks as well as tensions between US and Pakistan during the year led to the decline in drone attacks. US has suspended drone attacks after an attack by NATO helicopters on a Pakistani military check-post on November 26, 2011.

US had carried out 75 drone attacks inside Pakistan during the year 2011 killing 609 people. Among them only three were Arab commanders of Al Qaeda; one was UK’s most wanted and just four were senior commanders of different factions of Pakistani militants, the report said, adding that the rest were innocents.

American drones fired 242 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles during the year and destroyed 38 houses, 37 vehicles, one camp and a seminary. One such missile costs for $68000 which means the CIA spent $16.456 million or Rs 1.5 billion to kill 609 people. In average, ammunition cost of every single casualty was $27000 or Rs 2.4 million. If other expenses are included the overall cost of killing one suspected militant will further rise. It may become point of concern for American taxpayer that such a huge amount of money was spent just to eliminate four Al Qaeda leaders and four Taliban commanders. The report said drone strikes also strained US-Pak relations.

During 2011 collaboration and cooperation between CIA and ISI turned into confrontation. After arrest of CIA agent Raymond Davis and Abbottabad Operation, ISI busted many modules of local and international CIA agents active in the country. As a result American agency was deprived of human intelligence in many areas of North and South Waziristan. This led to ineffectiveness of the drone attacks against militant leadership, the report said.

CMC’s tally of the drone attacks shows that overall number of drone attacks since 2004 has crossed the figure of 300 and So far 2661 people have been killed in 303 drone attacks. An unprecedented increase in drone Attacks in South Waziristan was observed during the year. In the past, drone attacks in South Waziristan were rare in numbers as 90 percent of the attacks in 2010 occurred in North Waziristan. During the year 2011, South Waziristan was targeted more frequently. Drone attacks in South Waziristan were increased by 60 percent. During 2010 which was deadliest year of the history of drone attacks in Pakistan with highest ever number of drone attacks and subsequent deaths, only 9 out of 132 strikes were carried out in South Waziristan. However, in 2011 the number of attacks increased to 23. In North Waziristan, the CIA carried out 50 strikes while two strikes were carried out in Kurram Agency.

Contrary to American claims of only 50 civilian deaths during past eight years, a UK based media organisation, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism confirmed that a minimum of 391 and a maximum of 780 innocent civilians including 175 children have so far been killed in drone attacks.

The report said that although Pakistani government has publicly opposed drone attacks but its ‘anonymous’ security officials kept playing dubious role while releasing false details of drone Attacks. The government also failed to devise any plan to record casualties of civilians and militants by drone attacks. No comprehensive compensation policy for civilian victims of these attacks is in place however the government has announced Rs 300,000 for each of the victims of infamous March 17 attack on a peace jirga in North Waziristan which killed 40 tribesmen. Drone attacks have emerged as a cause of the problem rather than a solution. During the year many public demonstrations were held against drone attacks in different parts of Pakistan while National Assembly, Senate, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies passed resolutions to condemn drone attacks. Besides public protests, there are at least three court cases pending against drone attacks in three different courts of Pakistan.


I guess that makes O the biggest baby killer of all times..


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