Drone strikes in Pakistan
Drone attack is launched by united stated states on the northwest region of Pakistan since 2004. These attacks are carried out by using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) operated by the United States Air Force under the operational control of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Special Activities Division. Most of these attacks are on targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Northwest Pakistan.
The united state first launched the war on terror following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, were a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda on the United States on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001. These strikes began during the administration of United States President George W. Bush, and increased substantially under his successor Barack Obama.
Bush was quoted as saying that ‘our war on terror begins with al Qaeda but it does not end there. It will not stop until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated’.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has repeatedly demanded an end to the strikes, stating: “The use of drones is not only a continual violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve and efforts at eliminating terrorism from our country”. The Peshawar High Court has ruled that the attacks are illegal, inhumane, violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and constitute a war crime.
The Obama administration disagreed, contending that the attacks did not violate international law and that the method of attack was precise and effective.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates the following cumulative statistics about U.S. drone strikes as of 17 September 2017,
- Total strikes: 429
- Total killed: 2,514 – 4,023
- Civilians killed: 424 – 969
- Children killed: 172 – 207
- Injured: 1,162 – 1,749
- Strikes under the Bush Administration: 51
- Strikes under the Obama Administration: 373
- Strikes under the Trump Administration: 5
- 84 of the 2,379 dead have been identified as members of al-Qaeda
The US administration and Pakistani authorities have publicly claimed that civilian deaths from the attacks are minimal. Leaked military documents reveal that the vast majority of people killed have not been the intended targets, with approximately 13% of deaths being the intended targets, 81% being other “militants”, and 6% being civilians.
The identities of collateral victims are usually not investigated by US forces, who systematically count each male military-age corpse as an “enemy killed in action” unless there is clear proof to the contrary, as long as the male was in a “militant facility” at the time. Estimates for civilian deaths range from 158 to 965. Amnesty International found that a number of victims were unarmed and that some strikes could amount to war crimes.
Two Pakistani novels have been written about U.S. drone attacks on Pakistan, Bullets and Train and The Scriptwriter. Bullets and Train specifically deals with the drone attacks and their aftermath. In The Scriptwriter, drone attacks are a part of the central plot.