ISLAMABAD: The United States carried out 75 drone attacks inside Pakistani territory during 2011 killing 609 people, among them only three were Arab commanders of Al-Qaeda; one was UK’s most wanted and just four were senior commanders of different factions of Pakistani militants, says Conflict Monitoring Centre’s annual report on drone attacks. It says that no drone attack was conducted in December last year.
The report is based on the data collected from mainstream national and international media. “The CIA failed to eliminate more than four Al-Qaeda leaders in its highly costly and controversial ‘assassination by drones’ campaign inside Pakistan during the year 2011”, the report says.
The report says a total of 303 drone attacks were carried out since 2004 in which 2661 people were killed. The report notes 43 percent decline in drone attacks in 2011 compared to the previous year 2010. The CIA had conducted 132 drone attacks in 2010. The number of fatalities in drone attacks has also dropped by 35 percent.
“Mounting protest and public backlash against drone attacks as well as tension between US and Pakistan during the year led to the decline in drone attacks. The US has suspended drone attacks after an attack by NATO helicopters on a Pakistani military check post on November 26, 2011”, the report says.
“An unprecedented increase in drone attacks in South Waziristan was observed during the year. In the past, drone attacks in South Waziristan were rare as 90 percent of the attacks in 2010 occurred in North Waziristan. During 2011, South Waziristan was more frequently targeted.
Drone attacks in South Waziristan increased by 60 percent. During 2010, which was the deadliest year in the history of drone attacks in Pakistan only 9 out of 132 strikes were carried out in South Waziristan. But in 2011 the number of attacks increased to 23. In North Waziristan, the CIA carried out 50 strikes while two strikes were carried out in Kurram Agency.”
“American drones fired 242 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles during the year and destroyed 38 houses, 37 vehicles, one camp and a Madrassa. One such missile costs $68000 which means the CIA spent $16.456 million or Rs1.5 billion to kill 609 people. The cost of a single casualty was $27000 or Rs2.4 million.”
“Contrary to American claims of only 50 civilian deaths during past eight years, a UK-based media organisation, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, confirmed that a minimum of 391 and a maximum of 780 innocent civilians including 175 children have so far been killed in drone attacks.”