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Jan 02, 2014| Courtesy by : dailymail.co.uk
Nearly a quarter of those killed by US drone strikes in Pakistan could have been civilians, a report claims.
With Washington and London facing growing pressure to cut drone programmes, the figures are certain to inflame relationships with Pakistan.
The study released yesterday by the Council on Foreign Relations concludes, after scrutinising estimates from three monitoring groups, that of the 3,520 killed by US drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia over the last 12 years, 457 – or 11 per cent – were civilians.
But one monitoring organisation, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, thinks the deadliest attacks were in Pakistan, and claims 3,091 were killed since 2004, with 22 per cent of deaths – just over 680 – those of civilians.
America has sought to play down the ‘collateral damage’ of the drone strikes in Pakistan’s regions bordering Afghanistan where Al Qaeda terrorists have sought refuge.
Pakistani officials say innocent civilians were killed daily.
The issue has put human rights groups and pro-Taliban forces on the same page as they use the civilian deaths to denounce the drones.
Pakistan has tempered its claims recently, but insists the attacks violate its sovereignty regardless of who they kill.
Official casualty figures for the deaths are unavailable as they are classified.
But according to details in the new report, President Obama’s mid-year decision to wind down drone strikes resulted in fewer strikes last year.
There were around 55 strikes in 2013, a drop from the estimated 92 the previous year.
The data comes from estimates compiled by the New America Foundation, the Long War Journal and the TBIJ.