Tribesmen sit with Sadaullah Khan (C), a man from Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region, who says he lost both legs in a drone strike on his house last year. – Reuters Photo

ISLAMABAD: America's covert drone war on al Qaeda and the Taliban has killed up to 168 children in Pakistan over the last seven years, according to an independent study released Thursday.

The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said its research showed there had been many more CIA attacks on alleged militant targets, leading to far more deaths than previously reported.

It said 291 CIA drone strikes had taken place in Pakistan since 2004, eight percent more than previously reported, and that under President Barack Obama there had been 236 strikes -- one every four days.

The Bureau said most of the 2,292 to 2,863 people reported to have died were low-ranking militants, but that only 126 fighters had been named.

It said it had credible reports of at least 385 civilians and a possible upper limit of 775 civilians being killed. It said there were reports of at least 164 children being killed and possibly up to 168.

Washington does not confirm Predator drone attacks, but US officials privately describe the program as vital in the fight against Islamist militants and say that the strikes are accurate, limiting any collateral damage.

“Civilian casualties do seem to have declined in the past year. Yet the Bureau still found credible evidence of at least 45 civilians killed in some 10 strikes in this time,” said the Bureau's report.

The most recently reported civilian fatality was a migrant worker on leave from Dubai who was killed on July 12 when the CIA attacked a car carrying eight alleged militants, according to the Bureau's researchers in Waziristan.

On Wednesday, Pakistani security officials said up to 21 Afghan fighters from the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, considered the top US foe in eastern Afghanistan, were killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan.

Pakistan's lawless tribal belt where the drone strikes are carried out is off limits to independent access by journalists and aid workers.

Opinion

Casualties of war
17 Sep 2021

Casualties of war

As we ruminate over the consequences of America making a mockery of international law, it is equally important to take an inward
Love of wealth
17 Sep 2021

Love of wealth

Those obsessed with wealth are likely to be involved in corrupt practices.
Pro-rich growth
Updated 17 Sep 2021

Pro-rich growth

An intellectually honest prognosis of our political economy for the working class makes for grim reading.

Editorial

TTP amnesty?
Updated 17 Sep 2021

TTP amnesty?

An amnesty should be for some individuals, not the entire outfit.
17 Sep 2021

Media regulation

THE needless controversy over media regulation may finally be heading for a resolution. In a meeting with ...
17 Sep 2021

Refusing audit

THE continuous resistance put up by several public-sector organisations to submitting their accounts for audit by ...
Aid for Afghans
16 Sep 2021

Aid for Afghans

Humanitarian aid can resume even if the world decides to hold back on formal recognition of the regime for now.
16 Sep 2021

Wheat price

THE government’s decision to raise the wheat release price, or the rate at which provinces issue their grain ...
16 Sep 2021

Keeping the press out

ON Monday, the government yet again displayed its rising contempt for the freedom of press — this time in...