The US Air Force will no longer reveal data in regards to US Drone strikes on Afghanistan soil. The announcement arrives at a time when the US military has come under fire for its use of unmanned aircraft throughout the region.
In a statement regarding the decision, US Central Command said it removed the publicly available data because it was “disproportionately focused” on the use of weapons by the remotely piloted aircraft. The agency notes that reports focused solely on when strikes were carried out. Strikes occur in only three percent of drone missions while most are focused on reconnaissance.
According to the Air Force Times, the data was originally posted to showcase how drones were being used beyond attack mode in Afghanistan. As expected, the press zoned in on the more interesting and devastating attacks.
The US Air Force provided drone statistics from November 2012 through January 2013. When February numbers were released on March 7, the worksheet was blank.
In its public statement, US Central Command writes:
“A variety of multi-role platforms provide ground commanders in Afghanistan with close air support capabilities, and it was determined that presenting the weapons release data as a whole better reflects the air power provided.
“Protecting civilians remains at the very core of AFCENT’s (Air Force Central Command’s) mission. The use of all AFCENT aerial weapons are tightly restricted, meticulously planned, carefully supervised and coordinated, and applied by only qualified and authorized personnel.”
The decision to stop reporting US Air Force drone strike information was agreed to by the International Security Assistance Force, the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan.
While Afghanistan drone strike reports are no longer being provided from a military source, the use of drones will continue to be reported on by journalists and citizen reporters on the ground.
Do you think the US Air Force drone strikes and other maneuvers should continue to be available to the public?