US drones target first responders in Pakistan

US Predator droneThe US routinely engages in launching follow-up assassination drone attacks in Pakistan, aimed at targeting people who arrive at the site of an initial attack for rescue operations.

According to a report published on the Guardian website, the US has routinely launched double or triple drone attacks in Pakistan, even though targeting rescuers after an initial attack is considered by Washington as an act of terrorism.

In the latest such attack, US drones fired four missiles in Pakistan’s North Waziristan on Sunday when people were celebrating the end of holy month of Ramadan. At least one of the strikes was a secondary attack aimed at the rescuers.

The report drew out the point that any attack on first responders is officially considered by the US as terrorism, citing the US Department of Homeland Security.

An earlier high-profile instance of such an attack, shown in a video footage released by WikiLeaks in 2010, was when an Apache helicopter opened fire on the rescuers after targeting two journalists in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Two children, who were sitting in the rescue car and were visible through the windshield, were also targeted in the secondary attack by the US Apache helicopter.

Earlier in February, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in a report that “the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.”

Earlier, the United Nations called on the US to release the footage of its deadly assassination drone strikes in different parts of the globe or face an international inquiry.

UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter-Terrorism Ben Emmerson said on Sunday that the US is coming under mounting global pressure over its use of assassination drones, adding that he is preparing a report on the issue for the next session of the Human Rights Council in March.

He said that the issue “will remain at the top of the UN political agenda until some consensus and transparency has been achieved.”