At Least Five Reported Dead as US Drone Bombing Levels Compound in Pakistan
Latest missile strike reportedly killed five people, but criticism mounts that such attacks fuel radicalization of youth
In a direct affront to the country's sovereignty and what many experts call a violation of international law, a US drone Wednesday fired two missiles at an alleged training camp in Pakistan killing at least five people.
According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ),
[the] missiles destroyed a house in a pre-dawn strike near Wana. The house was in either Babar Ghar or Sararogha village, depending on reports. There were fears the death toll could rise as people reportedly remained trapped in the rubble. Locals dug dead and injured out of the wreckage but the rescue work was reportedly delayed out of fear the drones would strike again. Reports alleged all those killed were militants. But there were conflicting accounts of which militant group was occupying the house.
Recently, drone strikes have been publicly criticized by the Pakistani government which says the missile attacks are a violation of the nation's sovereignty.
The latest attack follows a statement made earlier this week by the UN special rapporteur on counter-terrorism and human rights envoy Ben Emmerson who cautioned against the ramifications of "legitimizing" these widespread strikes. He reasoned, "If it is lawful for the U.S. to drone al Qaeda associates wherever they find them, then it is also lawful for al Qaeda to target U.S. military or infrastructure where ever (militants) find them."
"The consequence of drone strikes has been to radicalize an entirely new generation," he added.
Throughout the region, the effect of drone strikes has been the rapid and successful indoctrination of children into armed fighters.
"What has radicalized these boys," explained the director of a Pakistani "de-radicalization" school to CNN's Nic Robertson, "is what turns teenagers the world over to crime: poverty, poor education, limited prospects and often lack of parental control. It is in this setting that the boys have made ready recruits for Taliban scouts who wean them on tales of the U.S. drone strikes that have killed scores of Pakistani women and children over the past few years."
The BIJ estimates that CIA drone attacks in Pakistan have killed up to 3,533 people since 2004, up to 884 of them civilians and 197 children.
Last year, Christof Heyns, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, summary or arbitrary executions, told a conference in Geneva that President Obama's continued aggression on Pakistani soil was an affront to international law and, if continued, would ultimately lead to a breakdown of long-established human rights standards.
Across the border in Afghanistan, an investigation team established by President Hamid Karzai has confirmed that a total of 17 civilians, including 12 children, were killed in a NATO-led air strike in the country's Kunar province earlier this month.
"[The attack] by the NATO-led forces was a violation of human rights and the presidential order which bans air strikes during operations in residential areas," said Karzai in a statement issued by presidential palace Sunday. "[W]e do not accept the conduct of any air strike on residential areas under any name and for any purpose whatsoever."