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

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs