Legal action taken on behalf of civilian victims of CIA drone attacks

Today Dawn reports that in Islamabad, Pakistan, Imran Khan, chairman of political party Tehrik-i-Insaaf will preside over a tribal jirga at a hotel and lead a protest walk on Friday against US drone attacks. 

Yesterday Khan set out the case at a press conference in Islamabad with British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, director of British charity organisation Reprieve, who is fighting the case for drone victims in the British courts.

This legal action will no doubt be welcomed by the Drones Campaign Network, a UK-based network sharing information and coordinating collective action in relation to military drones. 

References in earlier articles: 

Bradford University Chancellor Imran Khan: spearheading a project by the Peace Museum for the Olympics  – August 26, 2011

Barbarous drone attacks on several countries escalated under Obama in 2009 & 2010 – May 22, 2011

A concerted call for Drone aircraft to be grounded – August 11, 2011 

Estimated numbers 

CIA drone strikes have led to far more deaths in Pakistan than previously understood, according to extensive research published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This study was based on close analysis of credible materials: some 2,000 media reports; witness testimonies; field reports of NGOs and lawyers; secret US government cables; leaked intelligence documents, and relevant accounts by journalists, politicians and former intelligence officers. We cited this in August and it is worth repeating: 

  • More than 160 children are among at least 2,292 people reported killed in US attacks since 2004.
  • There are credible reports of at least 385 civilians among the dead. 

They differ from US government estimates released by a counter-terrorism official, which state that an estimated 2,050 people have been killed in drone strikes – of whom all but an estimated 50 are combatants.

The Brunei Times reports that the Obama administration has stepped up drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban militants in Pakistan’s tribal border areas in an effort to stabilise Afghanistan before the end of 2014, when all Nato combat troops are due to leave. 

Can the Obama administration really believe that bombing tribal people will stabilise the border areas?

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