Monday, August 1, 2011

Drone Strikes Kill 3 | Gaming in Waziristan

This Voice of America report shows just how routine US drone strikes in Pakistan have become.

Pakistan intelligence officials say U.S. drone-fired missiles have killed three suspected militants near the Afghan border.

They say the missiles hit a vehicle Monday in the South Waziristan tribal region, known to be the home of al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents.

The U.S. routinely stages drone attacks into Pakistan, but does not publicly acknowledge the program.

The attacks are a source of tension between the U.S. and Pakistan. Islamabad says the missile strikes fuel militancy in the region.


If you really want to know the human cost of unmanned weapons read this exhibition review published in the Independent. The exhibit, 'Gaming in Waziristan', includes images of the aftermath of drone strikes in north Waziristan.

Under fire from afar:
Harrowing exhibition reveals damage done by drones in Pakistan

If you want to understand the impact of the "war on terror" on America's ally, Pakistan, look no further than Noor Behram's photographs which show, he says, collateral damage as a result of US drone strikes in the tribal area. Behram, who is from Waziristan, has spent the past four years interviewing survivors of drone attacks, shooting video footage and close-up stills of the damage. The photographs – part of a new London exhibition – are gruesome.

Bugsplat | Anti-Drone Campaign

Clive Stafford Smith, founder of legal action charity Reprieve, who together with Pakistani lawyer, Mirza Shahzad Akbar, has launched lawsuits on behalf of victims' families, believes that 95 per cent of those killed by drones are not legitimate targets. He says: "We need transparent figures. We know that the US is lying as they say no civilians are being killed by drones and we've seen pictures of dead women and children." He believes that Behram's photographs provide evidence.

There are other questions which the images raise. How can people surrender to a drone? Why is the US regularly bombing its ally Pakistan in the first place?

Since President Obama came to office, the use of unmanned aircraft has drastically increased. Bush used unmanned predator drones 45 times in his eight years in office, while Obama unleashed 118 drones on Pakistan last year alone.

It's not just America however that is reducing its military's dependence on human beings – within 20 years nearly one third of the RAF could be made up of remotely controlled drones.

Reprieve has called its anti-drone campaign Bugsplat – the official term used by US authorities when human beings are successfully killed with drone missiles. Who needs satire?

Noor Behram

Noor Behram was born in 1972 in North Waziristan Agency (NWA). He has been working as a journalist in print media since 2000 in NWA. He started working in electronic media covering conflict zone of Waziristan and FATA for Al-Jazeera in 2007. He speaks Urdu, Pashto and Arabic. For last 3 years apart from his assignment with AJ, he has been taking pictures and footages of civilian drone victims with emphasis on women and children being killed and injured in drone strikes. He has been able to cover over 60 strikes since 2007.

Noor is married with 6 children with eldest daughter aged 14 called Aqsa who just finished her school in Miranshah and is going to college. His youngest is 6 months old and is named Mohammed Ali.

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Afghanistan 101 is a blog of the American Friends Service Committee
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