Red Cross chief Peter Maurer on Tuesday condemned drone strikes by the United States in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and elsewhere. He urged the Obama administration to review its drone strike policy, as it is fast becoming problematic. He said, however, that a very restrained use of drone strikes may be allowed against al-Qaida, the Taliban and other militant outfits. Maurer further said that the drones being used in Afghanistan and Yemen are in the context of an armed conflict and therefore are considered legitimate. But he said that in Pakistan there was no officially declared armed conflict and therefore the use of drone attacks in the tribal region of Pakistan was "particularly problematic."
In an exclusive interview with CNN earlier in April, Pakistan’s former president and chief of army staff, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, admitted that he allowed the US to use drone attacks against the Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists hiding in Pakistan. However, he was quick to clarify that he permitted the US to use drone attacks only a few times. WikiLeaks had already exposed Pakistani government officials saying Pakistan’s premier and other top government functionaries had assured the US that they would not initiate any action against the US for using drone stirkes against the militants, but just continue to issue public statements condemning the strikes.
The first drone attack in Pakistan was made in 2004 and since then, as the New America Foundation estimates, drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal area have killed between 1,953 and 3,279 people. The foundation further revealed that between 18 percent and 23 percent of the killed were not militants. Another study by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that since 2004, the US has carried out 365 drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed between 2,536 and 3,577 people, including 411 to 884 civilians. A number of national and international legal experts have declared that it is not justifiable for the US to kill even a single civilian in the drone attacks meant for militants.
The United Nations special rapporteur on drones, British lawyer Ben Emmerson, recently visited Pakistan and said that drone strikes were just helping radicalize the country's new generation. The Taliban and other terrorists exploit the youth whose family members the US has killed in drone strikes. The young generation feels that the US is one of their worst enemies and therefore it is good to attack the US-led coalition troops based in neighboring Afghanistan. Also, hate against the US is growing fast among the young generation of Pakistan. Revisiting its drone policy for Pakistan can give better results to the US.