North America

Most US drone strikes hit domestic buildings

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Domestic buildings continue to be the most frequent target of CIA drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan, a new research reveals.

A new investigative project by the Bureau of Forensic Architecture, a research unit based at London’s Goldsmiths University, and New York-based Situ Research, has examined the types of target attacked by Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) known as drones in Pakistan.

The study has revealed that throughout the 10-year deadly campaign in Pakistan, the CIA has consistently attacked houses killing many civilians.

The research found that 61percent of all drone strikes in Pakistan targeted domestic buildings with at least 132 houses destroyed.

At least 222 civilians have been killed in such drone strikes, accounting for at least one civilian death in each strike, the study said.

Moreover, houses have been twice as likely to be targeted in the evening when families are more likely to be at home, making them more vulnerable.

Researchers analyzed thousands of reports, including media reports, witness testimonies and field investigations to gather their data.

Susan Schuppli, senior research fellow at Forensic Architecture and the project coordinator, said women and children are often the victims of drone strikes that attack domestic buildings as they are more likely to stay indoors.

Women and children’s “relative seclusion within private space makes them particularly vulnerable to becoming an unknown casualty when a strike occurs,” she said.

The study’s findings are in stark contrast to President Barack Obama’s promise of greater transparency surrounding the controversial campaign.

In a major foreign policy speech on May 23 last year, Obama defended the drone program as effective while promising to narrow its scope and increase its transparency. However, critics say the president is showing no sign of relinquishing what has become his weapon of choice since he took office in 2009.

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