CIA-operated drone strikes which continued intermittently on Pakistan’s tribal areas since 2004 have intensified after the death of Osama Bin Laden in the country.
In 2006, in one of the most lethal strikes, an unmanned air vehicle killed 69 children, among 80 civilians in Bajaur Agency. On August 11, 2011, while quoting the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, The Telegraph reported, “As many as 168 children have been killed in drone strikes in Pakistan during the past seven years.”
In another major drone attacks, more than 40 civilians and policemen were killed on March 18, 2011 in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan. On the same day, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani strongly condemned it as “unjustified and intolerable” and said it was a violation of human rights. He further explained, “Such an act of violence takes us away from our objective of elimination of terrorism…security of the people of Pakistan, in any case, stood above all.”
Particularly, gravity of that attack triggered a backlash in North Waziristan and other tribal areas. In this regard, tribal elders in North Waziristan Agency vowed to avenge the US-backed drone strike. In this context, a NWA tribal elder, Malik Jalaluddin, declared a jihad against the United States, saying, “We want to avenge the killings. We never forgive our enemy. I allow suicide attacks on Americans.”
On August 11, 2011, in an extensive analysis of open-source documents, a report of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism gave the true picture in relation to the the CIA’s drone strikes in Pakistan. The report says, “The CIA claims that there has been not one non-combatant killed in the past year. This claim always seemed to be biased advocacy rather than honest fact. Indeed, the Guardian recently published some of the pictures we have obtained in the aftermath of drone strikes. There were photos of a child called Naeem Ullah killed in Datta Khel and two kids in Piranho, both within the timeframe of the CIA’s dubious declaration.” While rejecting CIA’s false claim about casualties, the report reveales, “It is a bleak view: more people killed than previously thought.”
In the last three years, more than 700 innocent civilians and only 14 Al-Qaeda commanders have been killed by the US unmanned air vehicles.
Read more: Failure of US Drone Policy