Amnesty: US Drone Strikes Killed Pakistani Grandmother, Laborers
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - US drone strikes killed a Pakistani grandmother and 18 civilian laborers last year, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, shedding new light on a major source of tension in US-Pakistani relations.
Islamabad publicly opposes drone attacks, saying they kill too many civilians. The precise extent of human loss on the ground is unclear, however, because independent journalists and researchers have only limited access to the affected regions.
Pakistan's North Waziristan is the area of the most intensive US drone campaign in the world. Many jihadi fighters have been eliminated, but neither the Pakistani government nor the United States releases details about those killed, Reuters reported.
Amnesty said it had conducted a detailed investigation into two strikes in North Waziristan, yielding a report based on more than 60 interviews conducted by teams of researchers working independently of each other.
"We were really shocked, especially with the grandmother case. At first we thought, that can't be true - there must be something more to this," said Mustafa Qadri, the Amnesty researcher who wrote the report.
"People who are clearly no imminent threat to the US, are not fighting against the US, are being killed. The US has to come clean publicly with the justifications for these killings."
London-based Amnesty said a drone strike in the village of Ghundi Kala in October 2012 killed Mamana Bibi, 68, the wife of a retired school principal, as she was gathering vegetables.
According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drones often also target rescuers coming to help those injured in an initial strike.
The Pakistani Taliban effectively control North Waziristan, and offer safe havens to al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban who are fighting NATO troops across the border.