44 US drone hits in Pakistan killed 700 civilians in 2009
The Peninsula | January 2, 2010
PESHAWAR: Of the 44 Predator strikes carried out by the American drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan in 12 months of 2009, only five were able to hit their actual targets, killing five key Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but at the cost of around 700 innocent civilian lives.
According to the figures compiled by the Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the Pakistani tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009. For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by the American drones, 140 civilian Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 percent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were innocent civilians.
The success percentage for the drone hits during 2009 is hardly 11 percent. On average, 58 civilians were killed in these attacks every month, 12 persons every week and almost two people every day. Most of the hits were conducted on the basis of human intelligence, reportedly provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen, who are spying for the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.
Of the five successful predator attacks carried out in 2009, the first one came on January 1, which reportedly killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders – Usama al-Kin and Sheikh Ahmed Salim, both wanted by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Kin was the chief operational commander of Al Qaeda in Pakistan and had replaced Abu Faraj Al Libi after his arrest in 2004.
The second successful drone attack was conducted on August 5 in South Waziristan that killed the most wanted fugitive chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud along with his wife. The US State Department had announces a $5m head money for information leading to Baitullah , making him the only Pakistani fugitive with the head money separately announced by Islamabad and Washington.