Thursday, 18 October 2012

'Civilians target of US drones in Pakistan' 'Civilians target of US drones in Pakistan' Wed, 17 Oct 2012 20:55:12 GMT A new study shows that only one in 50 people killed by US assassination drones are militants in Pakistan while the rest are innocent civilians. The study, conducted by Stanford and New York Universities, concludes that Washington is terrorizing women and children as well as men round the clock with its unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks. The authors of the study think that the “double-tap” method -- a drone fires a missile, then followed by a second drone -- is largely to blame for the casualties. “This shows that drone strikes go much further than simply killing innocent civilians. An entire region is being terrorized by the constant threat of death from the skies,” said Clive Stafford Smith, the director of the charity Reprive that also participated in interviewing people for the report. According to the study, Pakistan’s tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan have witnessed at least 345 drone strikes during the past eight years. “These strikes are becoming much more common,” The Independent quoted Mirza Shahzad Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who represents victims of drone strikes, as saying. “In the past it used to be a one-off, every now and then. Now almost every other attack is a double tap. There is no justification for it.” Research also shows the consequences are much more profound than simply the fatalities, as the survivors of the attacks suffer from deep psychological trauma. Despite Pakistani government’s repeated calls on Washington to end the drone attacks, the US government continues its strikes on the tribal regions of the country. The aerial attacks were initiated by former US President George W. Bush, but have escalated under President Barack Obama. The drone strikes have triggered massive anti-US demonstrations across Pakistan to condemn the United States’ violations of their national sovereignty.

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