American drones killed 59 % civilians, 41 % terrorists in Waziristan


LAHORE: Of the 1184 persons killed by US drones in 124 attacks
conducted in 2010 in the Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan,
around 59 percent were innocent civilians while the remaining 41
percent were terrorists belonging to numerous al-Qaeda and
Taliban-linked militant groups.

According to data gathered by The News primarily from local and
international news sources, 703 of those who were perished by the US
drones between January 1 and December 31, 2010, were civilians,
including women and children, while 481 others were commanders,
fighters and activists of different militant groups. The drones hit
three types of targets in the tribal belt – terrorists’ compounds,
houses sheltering terrorists and vehicles carrying terrorists. Of the
124 drone strikes, the largest number – 53 (or 43 per cent of the
total drone attacks) – were directed at alleged terrorists’ compounds,
followed by 41 strikes (or 33 percent of the total attacks) targeting
houses allegedly sheltering terrorists while the remaining 187 attacks
(or 24 per cent of the total strikes) were directed at vehicles which
were allegedly carrying terrorists. As the velocity of the American
drones has increased enormously under the Obama administration, they
are now hitting their targets with precision.

As a matter of fact, despite a sharp increase in both the frequency
and total number of casualties resulting from Predator strikes,
civilian casualties have gone down compared with the figures of 2008
and 2009. But still, for each terrorist killed by the drones in 2010
in the Pakistani tribal areas, around two innocent civilians also had
to die. Of the total 1124 persons killed in the 124 drone attacks, the
largest number of people – 638 (or 54 per cent of the total
casualties) lost their lives when the US drones targeted alleged
terrorists’ compounds. 359 persons (or 30 percent of the total
casualties) were perished when the drones targeted houses allegedly
sheltering terrorists while the remaining 187 persons (or 16 per cent
of the total casualties) got killed when the drones hit vehicles
allegedly carrying terrorists.

The majority of the drone attacks in 2010 took place in the Waziristan
region administered by four powerful Taliban groups – the Mehsuds,
Mullah Nazir, Hafiz Gul Bahadar and Haqqanis. Since 2006, the drone
strikes focused on two regions: North Waziristan and South Waziristan.
Yet, over the past two years, there has been a dramatic shift in the
location of the drone strikes. In 2009, 42 per cent of the predator
attacks took place in North Waziristan and 51 per cent in South

However, 83 per cent of the total drone attacks in 2010 have targeted
North Waziristan. Key Pakistani Taliban commanders Mullah Nazir and
Waliur Rehman are based in South Waziristan; Jalaluddin Haqqani and
Sirajuddin Haqqani in North Waziristan, Hafiz Gul Bahadar, al-Qaeda’s
chief operational commander Saif Al Adal and his Pakistani right hand
Ilyas Kashmiri are based in North Waziristan; the Tehrik-e-Taliban
Pakistan ameer Commander Hakeemullah Mehsud is based in Arakzai
Agency; and Faqir Mohammed is based in Bajaur Agency. All these
factions of militants shelter al-Qaeda and various other anti-US
terrorist groups.
However, 12 such militant groups remained the prime targets of the
American predator strikes in 2010 which included the fugitive leaders
of al-Qaeda, the leaders of the Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, the
commander of the Islamic Jehad Group, Uzbekistan Islamic Movement,
Turkistani Islamic Party, Islamic Army of Great Britain, Haqqani
Militant Network, Lashkar-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, Lashkar-e-Zail
and Brigade 313.

According to group-wise break-up of the 481 militants who got killed
in drone attacks in Pakistan in 2010, 127 belonged to the Haqqani
militant network, 123 belonged to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, 38
belonged to al-Qaeda, 34 belonged to Lashkar-e-Islami, 31 belonged to
Islamic Jehad Group, 27 were Afghan Taliban, 24 belonged to Turkistani
19 belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, 18 belonged to Islamic Army of Great
Britain, 17 belonged to Uzbekistan Islamic Movement, 12 belonged to
Lashkar-e-Zil and the rest of 11 belonged to the Brigade 313.

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