Claims of Major General Ghayur Mehmood and their authenticity


MQ-1L Predator UAV armed with AGM-114 Hellfire...

Image via Wikipedia

By Abdullah Khan

Claim: 964 militants killed in 164 Drone Attacks since 2007

Comment: Drone Attacks were not started in 2007. The covert CIA operation was started in 2004. It carried out five drone attacks from 2004 to 2007. Almost every drone attack was/is reported in the media. Many research organizations follow drone attacks. Among them most prominent are New America Foundation, Long War Journal, and Conflict Monitoring Center (As per working paper of Oxford Research Group). These organizations keep records of every single drone attack. Contrary to Maj. General Ghayyoor’s claims, each one of these organizations counts more than 200 drone attacks from 2007 to the end of 2010. The reported fatalities are also double to his claims.

Name of Organization No. of Reported Attacks 2004 to April 13, 2011 (Since Last Drone Attack) No. of Reported Deaths
New America Foundation

235

2290

Long War Journal

235

1834

Conflict Monitoring Center

256

2218

Average Total

242

2114

Since every single drone attack is reported in media therefore no one can hide or change the figures for his/her own interests.

Claim: Only few civilians are killed

Maj. General Ghayoor released the figures of killed militants but deliberately did not release the number of civilian deaths. Only he said, “Yes there are a few civilian casualties in such precision strikes”. The ambiguous reporting of Drone attacks itself tells the real story that civilian casualties are deliberately overlooked. Only two incidents of civilian casualties were reported in international media while one incident was reported by a local newspaper in 2010. In these three incidents, only 17 people were reported dead. Apparently, this figure suggests that only a fraction of total fatalities were civilians but in reality, there are too many complications in determining exact number of civilian casualties. Almost none of the media organization reported body counts from independent sources throughout the year. Almost all reports were based on claims of unnamedU.S.and Pakistani intelligence officials. Fearing public reaction, the security officials whitewashed civilian casualties. Neither Pakistan nor U.S. government has any proper mechanism to ascertain civilian deaths in this unparalleled killing campaign. Brooking Institute’s research suggests that for every militant killed ten or so civilians also died. Another study by New America Foundation, which supports drone attacks, suggests that in a total of 114 drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and early 2010 approximately between 834 and 1,216 individuals had been killed, about two thirds of them were thought to be militants and one third were civilians.

Claim: Majority of those killed were hardcore Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants many of them foreigners.

It is important to know the definition of ‘hardcore militants’. New America foundation (A pro drone attacks organization) claims only 33 militants leaders are killed in 6 years. Vast majority of killed people are unknown suspected militants. Neither ‘anonymous’ security and government officials nor 7th Div Headquarters ever released the names of these suspected militants. We need to know the difference or similarity between suspected militant and hardcore militant. According to data compiled by Conflict Monitoring Center only 72 out of 938 killed in 2010 by drones were foreigners. It means foreigners are only 7 percent of total deaths.

Being commander of a 7th Division does not guarantee that what he said is reliable. More importantly, we need to know his intention to support drone campaign when the entire nation was protesting against it. It seems that it was a bid to confuse the public and avert the reaction against drone attacks. His claims are contrary to Pakistan’s public stand on drone attacks but he is still serving at same post, which means he was asked to release this confusing data. It may have convinced those who are already supporting drone attacks in Pakistan but these figures do not change the basic reality that United States is disgracing our sovereignty and violating our air space.

Total Drone attacks since 2004 till 23rd April 2011= 257

Total reported deaths= 2243

Number of Drone attacks in 2010=132

Reported Deaths=938

Number of Drone Attacks in 2011 (till 22 April 22, 2011) =29

Reported Deaths in 2011 (till April 22, 2011) = 191

Month No. of Drone Attacks Reported Deaths
January

11

49

February

4

21

March

12

89

April (till April 22, 2011)

2

32

Total

29

191

Note Regarding Civilian Deaths:

. Only two incidents of civilian casualties were reported in international media while one incident was reported by a local newspaper in 2010. In these three incidents, only 17 people were reported dead. Apparently, this figure suggests that only a fraction of total fatalities were civilians but in reality, there are too many complications in determining exact number of civilian casualties. Almost none of the media organization reported body counts from independent sources throughout the year. Almost all reports were based on claims of unnamedU.S.and Pakistani intelligence officials. Fearing public reaction, the security officials whitewashed civilian casualties. Neither Pakistan nor U.S. government has any proper mechanism to ascertain civilian deaths in this unparalleled killing campaign. Brooking Institute’s research suggests that for every militant killed ten or so civilians also died. Another study by New America Foundation, which supports drone attacks, suggests that in a total of 114 drone strikes in Pakistan between 2004 and early 2010 approximately between 834 and 1,216 individuals had been killed, about two thirds of them were thought to be militants and one third were civilians.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s