News / Asia

    Study: US Should Re-Evaluate Pakistan Drone Strikes

    An undated handout image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force shows a unmanned MQ-1 Predator drone.
    An undated handout image courtesy of the U.S. Air Force shows a unmanned MQ-1 Predator drone.
    A study by two leading U.S. universities is criticizing the U.S. administration’s use of drone strikes against militants in Pakistan as counterproductive. But Washington considers the strikes crucial to its war against terrorists

    The report titled “Living Under Drones" is based on nine months of research and more than 130 interviews with victims, witnesses, experts, and media reports.
     
    Conducted by Stanford/New York University, the study says drone strikes targeting militants in northwest Pakistan kill civilians as well as militants, undermine international rule of law, and may motivate additional militant attacks.



    Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official now at the American Enterprise Institute, says some of the criticism on civilian deaths is valid.  But he says the report does not offer any viable alternative.

    “Drones are used so that armies do not need to be deployed.  Simply sitting on one's hands is not going to do the trick,” noted Rubin.

    While some analysts say the CIA-led strikes have largely taken place with the tacit approval of the Pakistani military, the attacks have angered many Pakistanis who see them as a violation of their country’s sovereignty.

    Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Sept. 25, 2012.
    Asif Ali Zardari, President of Pakistan, addresses the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters Sept. 25, 2012.
    Speaking at the United Nations this week, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, also criticized the policy.

    “No country, no people has suffered more in this epic struggle against terrorism than Pakistan," Zardari said.  "Drone strikes and civilian casualties on our territory add to the complexity of our battle for hearts and minds in this epic struggle.”

    Citing the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the report says in the past eight years at least 470 civilians have been killed and another 1,200 injured by the attacks.  It says the constant presence of drones is also terrorizing the local population.

    The study concludes that while the United States must be able to protect itself from terrorist threats, the negative impact of the strikes means Washington should re-evaluate its tactics.

    But Rubin says drones are used because there is a real problem with terrorist networks operating in the region.

    “If the Pakistanis would control their territory better and prevent themselves from being used as a refuge for these militant factors, then these drone strikes would disappear,” he said.

    Sharon Behn

    Sharon Behn is a foreign correspondent working out of Voice of America’s headquarters in Washington D.C  Her current beat focuses on political, security and humanitarian developments in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Follow Sharon on Twitter and on Facebook.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Dr. Malek Towghi (Baluch) from: USA
    September 27, 2012 12:22 AM
    Pakistan can stop the drone attacks by handing over Zawahiri, Mulla Umar, Haqqani & Co. to the USA. By the way Muslims have fought many of their wars, e.g. the Battle of Badr in the month of Ramadan.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    September 28, 2012 4:06 AM
    @Dr.Malek Towghi (Baluch) What's your point?
    Pakistan has been telling this to the world that US is doing worst than they think. but the problem is it's Pakistan who has to face the hate of those people being victims of those drones not the US. so therefore every single american will comment on this situation like he/she is an authority on this, but the fact is they are sitting in their peaceful country far far away from the hell they have created, and they want Pakistan to even suck it more. but the thing is that you americans are on the lose, biting everyone here an there, but you forgot what happened to USSR, there is not more, do you remember that? so put your brain back in your skull and listen to the world what everyone is saying. wasting your taxpayers money and spreading hatred and encouraging people to become terrorists is not gonna make a peaceful world. you have to understand this.......

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