Amnesty report on Pakistan drone strikes contradicts US assurances of precision
By Whitney Eulich, October 22, 2013
US drone attacks in Pakistan have killed at least 29 noncombatants since 2012 – deaths that could be categorized as war crimes, Amnesty International said today in a report released just a day before Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is set to meet with President Obama.
The report, “‘Will I be Next?’ US Drone Strikes in Pakistan” was released by Amnesty International in conjunction with a separate report by New York-based Human Rights Watch on US drone attacks in Yemen. The Amnesty report analyzed 45 publicly known drone attacks in the most commonly targeted region of Pakistan where the Taliban has been particularly active, North Waziristan, between January 2012 and August 2013.
The timing of the report's release puts perhaps the most sensitive issue in US-Pakistan relations in the spotlight as the two leaders meet.
President Obama publicly acknowledged a drone program in Pakistan in January 2012, and promised greater transparency in May 2013. “There must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured,” Obama said, noting that civilian deaths from drone strikes would haunt him and others involved in the administration’s hierarchy “as long as we live.”
Amnesty wrote in its report release that despite this, the US “still refuses to divulge even basic factual and legal information” on its drone program, which means little opportunity for victims’ families to press for compensation or take legal action.
“Secrecy surrounding the drones program gives the US administration a license to kill beyond the reach of the courts or basic standards of international law,” said Mustafa Qadri, author of the report.