Unnamed U.S. Official Denies Drones Have Killed 168 Children in Pakistan

Monday, August 15, 2011
Noor Syed, aged 8, killed in drone strike in Pakistan (photo: Noor Behram, Bureau of Investigative Journalism)
The Obama administration has vehemently denied a report out of the United Kingdom that nearly 170 children have been killed in Pakistan by American drone strikes over the past seven years.
 
The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a report that the CIA’s use of pilotless aircraft has killed at least 2,000 suspected militants and 385 civilians—168 of them kids—since 2004. The figures were based on a compilation of media reports, eyewitness accounts and reporting from non-profit groups.
 
Most of the child deaths occurred during the Bush presidency (112), including 69 of them in just one attack in 2006 that hit a religious school. Fifty-six of the deaths came about after President Barack Obama took office.
 
An unidentified Washington official told ABC News that the Bureau of Investigative Journalism was “way off the mark” with its claim. “We see the battlefield in real time; the Bureau of Investigative Journalism doesn’t... This group’s allegations about individual strikes are, in every case, divorced from the facts on the ground.”
 
The official insisted the total of civilian casualties was closer to 50.
 
As recently as June, White House counterterrorism advisor John Brennan claimed that not a single civilian had been killed in Pakistan in almost a year. The current report puts the number of 2011 civilian deaths at at least 30.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
 
Over 160 Children Reported Among Drone Deaths (by Chris Woods, Bureau of Investigative Journalism)

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