Shahzad Akbar, the director of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights, told Press TV on Saturday that only 170 of the people killed in the aerial attacks on the northwestern tribal belt of Pakistan have been identified as militants.
That means that “over 2,800 people were civilians, whose identities are not known, and they have just been killed on suspicion of being militants,” he added.
US President Barack Obama publicly confirmed for the first time in late January that drone aircraft have struck targets inside Pakistan.
Obama said “a lot of these strikes have been in the FATA”, the acronym for Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
Pakistan contends that the drone strikes are counterproductive.
“We are of the firm view that these are unlawful, counterproductive and hence unacceptable,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said on January 31.
He added, “Our view has always been very clear and position principled.”
Sixty-four US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt last year, down from 101 reported in 2010, according to AFP tallies.
The US claims the airstrikes target militants affiliated with the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and al-Qaeda. But locals say civilians are the main victims.
The aerial attacks, initiated by former US President George W. Bush, have escalated under President Barack Obama.[youtube height=”400″ width=”550″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfWKYioL82w[/youtube]