Civilians Account for One-Third of Drone Attack Deaths in Pakistan

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Estimates for the civilian casualty rate in Pakistan from U.S. drone attacks have varied widely depending on the source, according to the New America Foundation. The rate at which non-militants have died or been injured in aerial assaults by Predators and other pilotless aircraft have ranged from as low as 20—according to an unnamed source in the Obama administration—to 700 in 2009 alone, according to the Pakistani government.

A study conducted by the New America Foundation concluded that 32% of all deaths from drone attacks have been Pakistani civilians.
The killing of possibly hundreds of non-combatants in Pakistan has not dissuaded the Obama administration from ramping up the attacks. In 2009, 51 strikes were carried out, compared to 45 during President George W. Bush’s last year in office.
The foundation cites polling data revealing that drone attacks are extremely unpopular among Pakistan’s population, with only 9% approving them.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
The Year of the Drone: An Analysis of U.S. Drone Strikes in Pakistan, 2004-2010 (by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, New America Foundation) (pdf)


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