News / Asia

Researcher: Most Civilian Drone Deaths 'From Faulty Information'

File photograph of an unmanned Predator B drone, taken November 8, 2011 (AP)File photograph of an unmanned Predator B drone, taken November 8, 2011 (AP)
x
File photograph of an unmanned Predator B drone, taken November 8, 2011 (AP)
File photograph of an unmanned Predator B drone, taken November 8, 2011 (AP)
VOA News
A researcher who helped a U.N. team investigate drone strikes in Pakistan says most civilian deaths from the attacks were the result of bad intelligence.

Imtiaz Gul runs the Center for Research and Security Studies in Islamabad and sent his own researchers into parts of Waziristan province between 2008 and 2011.

Gul told VOA:

"Most of the cases in which innocent people got killed basically resulted from faulty information, but not entirely," said Gul. "Nobody really told us, and I would presume a number of people our team spoke to also withheld information because usually people also tend to hide the truth even in such situations."

Gul says fear is a major factor.

"These militants belong to a movement or to groups which see the United States as the oppressor, as the perpetrator, the violator of Pakistan sovereignty, so it is very difficult, extremely difficult for the people on the ground in the tribal areas to defend or support something that is killing members of the militant groups," he said.

A statement from the head of the U.N. team, released Friday, has been drawing attention for condemning the United States' use of drones in Pakistan as a "violation of Pakistan's sovereignty."

U.N. Special Envoy Ben Emmerson said Pakistan has also been "quite clear" on rejecting U.S. drone missions over its territory and that Islamabad believes the U.S. drone campaign "radicalizing a whole new generation, and thereby perpetuating the problem of terrorism in the region."

U.S. officials rarely discuss the use of drones against terrorists, though they say privately civilian casualties are minimal.

Imtiaz Gul says his researchers found the collateral damage is significant.

"Largely the pattern that emerged, in most of the cases, regardless of whether there was also a legitimate target present or not, a lot of innocent people, women and children also lost their lives," he said.

Gul said his teams spoke to families of alleged victims and then would try to corroborate allegations with local officials and tribal elders.

The findings on the impact of drone strikes in Pakistan will be part of a larger U.N. report on drones set to be presented later this year.

U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey told reporters Friday the preliminary findings have not changed the position of U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

"Like any other weapon, the use of armed UAVs is subject to long standing rules of international law including international humanitarian law in situations of armed conflict," said del Buey. "He also believes there is a need for greater confidence in international community that the use of these weapons is within the bounds of international law."

The U.N. investigators spoke to military and government officials as well as people in tribal areas.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid