The United States’ drone strikes were criticized by rights groups, including Amnesty International, which released a damning report on the US military’s use of drones to kill suspected terrorists.
The strikes, which typically happen in Pakistan, Yemen, and Afghanistan, are a huge source of tension between the three nations and the United States.
While the extent of human loss of life on the ground isn’t known, Amnesty and other rights organizations say that the drones strikes may have killed hundreds of innocent civilians, notes Reuters.
Amnesty conducted a detailed investigation in Pakistan’s North Waziristan, where the majority of the strikes take place. They discovered that two strikes last year killed a Pakistani grandmother and 18 civilian laborers.
The report released Tuesday, based on more than 60 interviews from researchers working independently, showed the researchers’ disappointing results.
Mustafa Qadri, the Amnesty researcher who wrote the report, commented:
“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. People who are clearly no imminent threat to the U.S., are not fighting against the U.S., are being killed. The U.S. has to come clean publicly with the justifications for these killings.”
The Guardian notes that Amnesty International believes the US officials responsible for drone strikes may have committed war crimes, and should stand trial for them. The group cited the case of the grandmother, 68-year-old Mamana Bibi, who was killed while she was gathering vegetables. Her five grandchildren were also wounded in the incident.
The report added that the weather was clear when Bibi was hit, begging the question about why the US targeted her. In the second case, 18 men were killed in Zowi Sidgi in July of last year, while they were gathered in the shade to talk after a long day at work. One man was a woodcutter, another was a vegetable seller, and the others were miners. The youngest man killed was 14. More locals were killed as they tried to rescue the wounded.
Do you think the United States is committing war crimes in their secret drone strikes?
[Image by U.S. Air Force via Wikimedia Commons]