News / USA

US Expected to Continue Drone Strikes in Pakistan, Despite Criticism

David Dyar

A recent UN report called on the Obama administration to stop unmanned drone strikes against terrorists along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan.   The human rights group, Amnesty International, says the United States must clarify rules for using drones and monitor the impact on civilians.  Critics say U.S. drone attacks have killed hundreds of civilians over last few years. Despite criticism, analysts say the U.S. is not likely to change its tactics and will continue using drones.

Drone attacks targeting alleged terrorists in Pakistan have become an increasingly common tool used by the United States.  The program is being condemned by critics who say it may constitute assassination and violates international law.

The third highest leader in al-Qaida, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, was reported killed by a missile from a drone in a tribal region in Pakistan -- the day before the UN report was issued.

The report calls on the U.S. to use restraint in using drones outside of war zones, such as Pakistan.  Peter Singer follows defense issues at the Brookings Institution in Washington. "I think this really comes down to the fundamental difference between the use of this technology in clear war zones, like Afghanistan, by the military versus the murkier area of a counter terrorism campaign, a targeted killing campaign, by an intelligence agency," he said.

The Obama administration does not acknowledge the program by the Central Intelligence Agency.  Pakistan has publicly objected to the killings but its military is said to provide information on the targets.  

"The strikes, of course, are happening. The CIA may deny they're happening.   The Pakistani government, not only knows they're playing out, they're facilitating it.  For example, it was revealed about a year ago, the planes, contrary to violating Pakistani sovereignty, were actually taking off from Pakistani airforce bases," he said.

"If the people most directly involved in this - the Pakistanis - really want it to stop, then I think you would see the elected government of Pakistan become quite vocal in opposition and would shut this down," said Reuel Marc Gerecht, an intelligence analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies in Washington.

During a visit to Pakistan last October, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she refused to discuss the drones.  But in March, a State Department legal advisor defended drone killings as lawful because of the conflict with al-Qaida.   

The UN report says the U.S. should release figures on civilian casualties caused by the strikes.  The report also expresses concern that targeted killings are becoming easier  and more frequent because the drones are controlled by computers and audio feeds far from the battlefield.

Singer says more than 40 countries have drones. He supports using them in Pakistan.  "There are terrorist leaders who have done very bad things and are planning very bad things, who are deliberately hiding out in areas that are inaccessible. You can't capture them, you can't get the local government to go in, and the only way to get them is from these strikes from afar," he said.

The UN report proposes a summit of key military powers to clarify limits on killings by armed drones.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid