US, Pak officials deliberately overlooking high civilian death toll in drone attacks

Last Updated: Thu, Dec 09, 2010 06:00 hrs

United States and Pakistan officials are deliberately overlooking civilian deaths that outnumber the killings of militants in CIA drone attacks, a report released by Conflict Monitoring Centre (CMC) has revealed.

"Our research observed that intelligence officials of US and Pakistan deliberately overlook civilian fatalities and relay only censored accounts to Western media organisations. However, study reports suggest that the civilian casualties generally outnumber the killings of militants in drone attacks," The Nation quoted CMC's monthly report, as saying, which was released last week.

According to the report, the month of November saw 15 drone strikes in North Waziristan, killing a total of 84 people, including a high number of civilians.

The months of September and October witnessed 23 and 21 drone strikes respectively, resulting in over 400 casualties during the last three months.

Noting that despite these massive-scale drone strikes, no top ranked militant was targeted, the CMC report said, "No high-value target was either killed or injured in drone attacks during the month, only a local militant commander, namely Mustafa, was killed in the attack on November 21."

The document also cited the whistle blower website WikiLeaks quoting former US Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson, as saying that the Pakistani government had approved drone attacks in FATA and NWA, and that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was directly involved in the process.

The report also pointed out that "despite widespread public sentiments against drone attacks, neither any strong statement by any top political leader, nor significant public protests in this regard have been observed in Pakistan during the last month."

Last year, the Brooking Institute had revealed that an average of ten civilians to one militant were killed in drone strikes. (ANI)