2011: Drone Attacks Remained Ineffective against Militant Leaders


According to the Conflict Monitoring Center’s annual report on drone attacks American Spy Agency CIA has failed to eliminate more than four Al-Qaeda leaders in its highly costly and controversial ‘assassination by drones’ campaign inside Pakistan during the year 2011. It had carried out 75 drone attacks inside Pakistani territory during the year 2011 killing 609 people, among them only three were Arab commanders of Al-Qaeda; one was UK’s most wanted and just four were senior commanders of different factions of Pakistani militants. During the year 2011 collaboration and cooperation between CIA and ISI turned into confrontation. After arrest of CIA agent Raymond Davis and Abbottabad Operation, ISI busted many modules of local and international CIA agents active in the country. As a result American agency was deprived off human intelligence in many areas of North and South Waziristan. This led to ineffectiveness of the drone attacks against militant leadership. During the confrontation, the CIA also conducted revenge attacks in Pakistan. Due to differences between American State Department and the CIA, at the occasion of almost every high level meeting between Pakistani and American authorities, the CIA carried out a drone attack. American premier agency effectively undermined public diplomacy of its own government.

Conflict Monitoring Center’s tally of the drone attacks shows that overall number of drone attacks since 2004 has crossed the figure of 300 and So far 2661 people have been killed in 303 drone attacks. The Conflict Monitoring Center (CMC), an independent research center which regularly monitors drone attacks in Pakistan has prepared an annual report (2011) on drone attacks inside Pakistani territory. The report is based on the data collected from mainstream national and international media, e.g. CNN, NY Times, Al-Jazeera, Daily Dawn, The News, Daily Times, Geo News, Daily Express, Daily Ummat, Daily Mashriq, Daily Aaj and other news organizations.

The report notes 43 percent decline in drone attacks during the year 2011 than 2010. The CIA had conducted 132 drone attacks in 2010. The Number of fatalities in drone attacks has also dropped by 35 percent.

Mounting protest and public backlash against drone attacks as well as tension between US and Pakistan during the year led to the decline in drone attacks. U.S. has suspended drone attacks after an attack by NATO helicopters on a Pakistani military check post on November 26, 2011.

An unprecedented increase in Drone Attacks in South Waziristan was observed during the year. In the past, drone attacks in South Waziristan were rare in numbers as 90 percent of the attacks in 2010 occurred in North Waziristan. During the year 2011, South Waziristan was more frequently targeted. Drone attacks in South Waziristan were increased by 60 percent. During the year 2010 which was deadliest year of the history of Drone attacks in Pakistan with highest ever number of drone attacks and subsequent deaths, only 9 out of 132 strikes were carried out in South Waziristan. However, in 2011 the number of attacks increased to 23. In North Waziristan, the CIA carried out 50 strikes while two strikes were carried out in Kurram Agency.

American drones fired 242 AGM-114 Hellfire missiles during the year and destroyed 38 houses, 37 vehicles, one camp and a Madrassa. One such missile costs for $68000 which means the CIA spent $16.456 million or 1.5 billion Pakistani Rupees to kill 609 people. In average, ammunition cost of every single casualty was $27000 or 2.4 million Pakistani rupees. If other expenses are included the overall cost of killing one suspected militant will further rise. It may become point of concern for American tax payer that such a huge amount of money was spent just to eliminate four Al-Qaeda leaders and four Taliban commanders and during the process strained relations with key US ally in War on Terror, a diplomatic and political cost which cannot be measured in terms of pennies and dollars but can impact the overall result of the war against Al-Qaeda and Taliban.

Contrary to American claims of only 50 civilian deaths during past eight years, a UK based media organization The Bureau of Investigative Journalism confirmed that a minimum of 391 and a maximum of 780 innocent civilians including 175 children have so far been killed in drone attacks.

Although Pakistani government has publically opposed Drone attacks but its ‘anonymous’ security officials kept playing dubious role while releasing false details of Drone Attacks. The government also failed to devise any plan to record casualties of civilians and militants by drone attacks. No comprehensive compensation policy for civilian victims of these attacks is in place however the government has announced .3 million for each of the victims of infamous March 17 attack on a peace Jirga in North Waziristan which killed 40 tribesmen. Drone attacks have emerged as a cause of the problem rather than a solution. During the year many public demonstrations were held against drone attacks in different parts of Pakistan while National Assembly, Senate, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkha Assemblies passed resolutions to condemn drone attacks. Besides public protests, there are at least three court cases pending against drone attacks in three different courts of Pakistan.

Total Drone Attacks in 2011

Month

No. of Drone Attacks

Reported Max Deaths

January

11

49

February

3

22

March

11

89

April

2

32

May

8

63

June

12

117

July

6

73

August

6

50

September

4

22

October

8

55

November

4

37

December

0

0

Total

75

609

 

 

Yearly Comparison of Drone Attacks

Period/ Year

No. of Drone Attacks

Fatalities

2004-2007

9

109

2008

34

296

2009

53

709

2010

132

938

2011

75

609

Total

303

2661

Download Complete Annaul Report on Drones Attacks in Pakistan in 2011

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2 thoughts on “2011: Drone Attacks Remained Ineffective against Militant Leaders

  1. Pingback: The cost of drone warfare in Pakistan in 2011 « Understanding Empire

  2. Pingback: Essay: The Historical Rise of the Predator Drone | Understanding Empire

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