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Correction: Did a drone attack Malala?

Published Oct 16, 2012 09:21am


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* Note: Some of the information in the article below is outdated and we clarify the fact that Mirza Shahzad Akbar is no longer working with Farooq Law Associates. He also refutes the claims made by the author in this article who has called him a Taliban supporter. Akbar considers this a very serious allegation and has contradicted the author's words by stating firmly that he considers the Taliban criminals. regrets the errors.

In his book ‘Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban’, slain journalist Syed Saleem Shehzad who spent considerable part of his research with al Qaeda militants, described comprehensively the formation of the new al Qaeda players and their strategic objectives in the lawless FATA region of Pakistan after the crippling defeat of the Taliban and al Qaeda in 2001.

He magnificently illustrates this al Qaeda strategy in well-crafted 3 points:

  • The re-grouping of its militant structure and development of a battle strategy against the Pakistan Army and Nato Forces in Afghanistan
  • Conduct peace deals with the Pakistan Army and used the breathing space to strengthen its struggle against the United States
  • Extending the war into Pakistan, and from there strategising and launching the war from central Asian Republics to India for the sole purpose of defeating the Nato forces in Afghanistan.
In order to achieve this strategy, al Qaeda annihilated the centuries-old Pakistani tribal structure and traditions by killing thousands of tribal elders as well as clerics and launched a new generation of militants. However during this time Al Qaeda’s objectives were constantly under assault because mostly whenever a new leader was nominated and trained, he was eradicated by the formidable drone. This notorious drone is known to have successfully struck down not only the key al Qaeda and Taliban operatives but also fugitives responsible for hijacking of Pan American World Airways Flight 73 and 1998 United States Embassy Bombings.

According to The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, since the outset, there have been a total of 349 drone strikes in Pakistan to date, killing approximately 3300 people of which 500-800 are estimated to be civilians and this estimation has also been credited by the Stanford/NYU Clinics in ‘Living Under Drones’, a recent report heavily critical of the drones which was commissioned by London-based charity Reprieve that represents Guantanamo Bay prisoners .

In the following article I will critically analyze:

  • This report and in doing so uncover the lecturer at Islamic International University Islamabad (IIU) who has played a crucial role towards its findings.
  • The criticisms of drone strikes and its effectiveness in diminishing terrorist activities in Pakistan.
‘Living Under Drones’, the report prepared by researchers from Stanford and New York University law schools created mass hysteria in Pakistan after it revealed that drones terrorise civilians and are counter-productive. The print and electronic media along with cacophonic talk shows exploited this further to fuel the already mounting anti-Americanism and became an important tool in precipitating the hype surrounding the “Peace March” against drones organised by Imran Khan. However the report has various fundamental flaws which have been largely overlooked and which can raise grave concerns regarding its credibility.

Firstly this report cannot be considered impartial as claimed by Stanford/ NYU since their researchers were unable to directly access FATA to meet the affected victims due to the heavily guarded checkpoints established for security. Instead, they substantially relied on an Islamabad based Foundation for Fundamental Rights (FFR) for arranging interviews with drone strike victims. This created a conflict of interest between the FFR and the researchers, since FFR is a known legal advocate for drone victims in Pakistan. It would only be logical to presume that they would be inclined against the drones and would present evidence only to support their perspective and not of those residents who are in favor of it.

In addition to this, another issue which arises is what mechanism was adopted to ensure that the victims were really victims of drone strikes since there is a strong possibility that these victims were injured by other blasts such as those from F-16 and JF-17 used during Operation Rah-e-Nijat, which was launched by the Pakistan military in South Waziristan.

How do the victims ascertain that the strike they experienced or witnessed was actually from a drone rather than a PAF’s fighter air craft?

Moreover, the report mentions it faced a challenge in assessing the true opinions of the affectees who were reluctant speaking to foreigners about issues raised in this report from fear of vengeance from all quarters such as the Pakistani military, intelligence services, and the non-state armed groups.

Bearing this is mind, was there any process whereby the researchers ensured that the interviewees were not impacted by this same fear?

Secondly, FFR which facilitated this report is headed by Advocate Mirza Shahzad Akhbar, a practicing lawyer and lecturer at IIU who is known for his support of the Taliban. “Shahzad is a patriot and holds the United States entirely responsible for the menace in Pakistan” revealed an inside source from Shahzad’s employer, Farooq Law Associates, who spoke to me on condition of anonymity “He holds the Taliban as a legitimate resistance against the American imperialism.”

Most important of all, Shahzad is the same person who blew the cover of the CIA station chief, Jonathan Banks, in Pakistan in a press conference two years ago; it seems almost effortless the ease with which a mere practicing lawyer in Pakistan knows the identity of CIA’s station chief which is always a highly confidential information in any country. It is likely that elements within Pakistan’s security establishment were feeding Shahzad this information as he was working on an agenda provided by them.

If Shahzad’s concerns for the drone strike victims were truly so genuine he could have advised his clientele to sue the government of Pakistan and Armed Forces instead, since that is where the blame lies as they were facilitating these attacks in broad daylight by allowing Americans to use the Shamsi airbase until April 2011 to launch drone operations.

As it turns out this whole report boils down to the fact that it was prepared based on the information provided by the FFR and the only part played by the Stanford/NYU was more or less confined to designing and drafting of the report.

The timing of the release of this report cannot be dismissed either since Shahzad who helped assemble the data for the report also played a crucial role in managing Codepink activists who helped score a lot of attention internationally at the Peace March.

Coming to the second part of my analysis, the graphs below may be examined to assess the effectiveness and productivity of drone strikes:

The above graph illustrates the casualty breakdown of civilians and terrorists in drone strikes. The key point to note here is the outstanding decrease in civilian casualties in the last three years. The strikes increased dramatically after Barak Obama took office in 2009 but due to the adoption of remarkable precision levels and effective ground intelligence, the civilian casualty rate dropped to a mere 3 per cent by 2012.

Although even 3 per cent of civilian casualties are highly condemnable, this should not be seen in isolation, one must see the bigger picture and recognise the substantial impact of these strikes in reducing terror attacks in Pakistan which has inflicted thousands of casualties.

Here is some graphical data to support this viewpoint:

There are some key features that these two graphs represent.

Firstly, there is no evidence to support the popular mantra in Pakistan that drones fuel terrorist attacks. Contrary to popular beliefs, drone strikes have proved to be a crucial tool in reducing terrorism as can be seen from the graphs above. The year 2009 witnessed 54 drone strikes killing 570 terrorists and 150 civilians, versus 2010, where 122 strikes resulted in 900 terrorist and 74 civilian casualties. Nevertheless, 2009 was the deadliest year for Pakistan where 1,700 civilians died due to suicide attacks alone, along with other 1,600 casualties who were victims of ethnic violence, sectarian killings, accidental blasts and target killings. Furthermore, 2011 – 2012 experienced roughly the same levels of drone strikes as those of 2009 however, the difference is evident in the significant decrease in casualties from terrorist attacks of about 36 per cent to 55 per cent respectively. This correlation between drone strikes and terrorist casualties becomes more compelling when it comes to major cities in Pakistan where terrorist casualties have fallen by a marked 86 per cent by this year since 2009 despite the greater number of drone strikes in consequent years.

Looking at additional evidence, there are some ground realities which simply cannot be ignored and which strongly support drones as extremely effective against Pakistani suicide attacks. Between 2009 -2012, these strikes have caused severe damage to TTP and other Al Qaeda operatives who were assigned to destabilise Pakistan. Some top strategists, operational commanders, ideological mentors and recruiters were eliminated in these strikes.

These include:

Baitullah Mehsud: Top TTP leader who commanded up to 5,000 fighters and was responsible for killing thousands of Pakistanis in suicide attacks.

Tohir Yuldashev: Uzbek leader and ideological mentor of Baitullah Mehsud and Abdullah Mehsud who recruited up to 2,500 fighters in FATA and taught them brutal terror tactics to fight Pakistan army and Nato forces in Afghanistan.

Qari Hussain: Top TTP commander and organizer deadly suicide bombing squads which greatly facilitated Baitullah and Hakeemullah Mehsud. He played an instrumental role in executing TTP’s operational strategy.

Saeed al-Masri: Financial chief of Al Qaeda.

Qari Zafar: Leader of LeJ who carried out attacks on FIA offices in Lahore.

Ilyas Kashmiri: Al Qaeda’s top strategist and leader of 313 Brigade who not only planned to assassinate Pakistani  General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani but also presented the idea of Mumbai attacks to al Qaeda in order to divert Pakistani forces from its western borders. The plan was later executed by former SSG Pakistan Army commando, Major Haroon Ashiq with operational support from Hafiz Saeed.

Full list of total top militant commanders killed in drone strikes can be found here.

The fierce drone campaign against TTP and other fighters have greatly benefited Pakistan as it has caused leadership and strategic crisis among terrorists, depriving them of strategists, plotters, and fighters that eventually resulted in massive overall reduction of suicide attacks in Pakistan.

Although there has been a recent rise in sectarian killings of Shias particularly the Hazara community in Pakistan, this sectarian cleansing campaign has different dynamics and contexts which are explained in my recent article Hazara Holocaust and the Deafening Pakistani Silence.

In the end, it turns out that drones do not fuel terrorism in Pakistan as promoted by the local media, Imran Khan and other political leaders who thrive on anti-Americanism and spread lies by showing sham and bogus pictures of drone victims. The criticism against drone strikes by Stanford/NYU report is totally baseless since it was not a fact finding commission but instead a fall semester university project that relied for key information on partisan characters like Mirza Shahzad Akbar.

What fuels terrorism in Pakistan is its dubious policy against Taliban and the peace deals that it signed with the terrorists post 9/11. These peace deals ended up giving much needed breathing space to terrorists who have been exploiting these to their advantage to launch attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The peace agreements have been so ill-conceived that they did not even provide basic provisions against cross border infiltration of militants or the compulsory surrender of weapons.

Despite this aggressive supporters of these agreements such as Imran Khan continue to deceive the public by calling it the solution against terrorism and by linking it to the Northern Ireland peace process (Belfast Agreement). What these people fail to tell the public is that this peace process was only made possible after the successful process of “Decommissioning” where an Independent International Commission was formed in order to supervise the surrender of weapons by Irish Republican Army. One can never expect Taliban and al Qaeda to adopt “Decommissioning” since their ideology and struggle is religiously motivated unlike the IRA conflict.

Since the agenda of Taliban/al Qaeda is to forcefully implement their puritanical sharia and exploit peace deals to regain strategic strength, Pakistan has no option other than to declare an all-out war against them. However the drone technology is only viable as a short term solution because the war in Pakistan is an ideological one and winning it in the long run means ensuring against the rise of future terrorists by creating and promoting a counter ideology. Until then it seems, the drones are here to stay.

It’s about time Pakistan wakes up to the strategic advantages of drone strikes and identify its role in curtailing terrorism instead of choosing to selectively criticize  them whenever “Good Taliban” are targeted- who continue to send fighters in Afghanistan to fight Nato troops such as Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Maulvi Nazir and Haqqani Network.

Pakistan, being a vital non-Nato ally, must treat all Taliban as one, while allowing these strikes unabated, and stop decrying sovereignty issues because sovereignty, if Pakistan still has one, is foremost being violated by Taliban and Al Qaeda.

As a banner during a protest aptly portrays ‘Drones kill, so Malala can live’. This should be Pakistan’s philosophy in order to avoid future incidents which aim at crushing the very spirit of Pakistan by targeting a 14-year-old beacon of light, Malala Yousufzai.

References: Syed Saleem Shahzad 2011, Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 http://livingunderdrones.org

*Note: The graph “Blast Casualties in Major Cities vs Drone Strikes” has taken Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Peshawar into consideration.

The writer is an investigative Counter Terrorism Analyst. He blogs at and tweets at @Anas_Abbas1.

Comments (91) Closed

TaimurChaudhry Oct 18, 2012 05:14am
Great analysis.
Usman Oct 17, 2012 07:31am
Well observed Umair!
asim Oct 18, 2012 04:49am
In other word, People of Pakistan should learnto see through eyes of America and follow their policy otherwise drone will continue. Forget about soveriegnity,freedom that is only for people living in USA.
Iftikhar Ahmed Oct 18, 2012 05:32am
drones fly, children die.. not al qaeda!
Tanvir Oct 16, 2012 02:46pm
Do you really think that your suggestion if taken will bring peace to the Pakistani general public by making the tribal area a hell through drones attacks? You must be dreaming! Think this way, the Talibans are fiercely defending their land an a casue, bad or good. They have proven to be fighters against many odds. How can we fight them while sitting on our couches?
Mudassar Oct 16, 2012 02:46pm
Mr writer, you better think and think again that how long has this fight been going on.....?, have we got any results?....I am sure your answer will be big FAT "No" my dear please give peace a chance may be that will help us to get out of this mess, hope you won't mind at all......? Cheers.
Khan Oct 16, 2012 01:51pm
Great work Mr Abbas! Pakistan needs more people like NFP and you. Dawn is doing a great job too!
Hassaan Oct 16, 2012 01:52pm
Read Columbia Law School report on Drones. It categorically dismissed media reports because they found a lot of flaws in them. Research before post anything. This is a complex issue. This report has ignored some other narratives as well.
Ali Hussain Oct 16, 2012 09:37am
Very informative. At least this article has prompted me to rethink about drone strikes
TAIMUR Oct 16, 2012 09:58am
No Drone dint killed 'THE MALALA' but might have killed other 'MALAL'S'
malik Oct 17, 2012 03:56am
Drones may not be perfect but this is the best aresenal for dealing with terrorists. If only drones were used when TTP broke that jail in Bannu and yesterday when they attacked a Police checkpost and chopped the head of the SP.
Jaseem Pasha Oct 17, 2012 03:56am
CONCLUSION: Drones kill more Pakistani civilians than the lower number of Taliban casualties; Taliban kill many times more Pakistani civilians than drones do every year. Recommendation: If military + Government resolve to declare Taliban as Pakistani civilians' enemy #1 and eliminate them, the drones will disappear too. The question is: would military and the government agree. Answer is "NO", majority of people are brave, but not as brave as Malala. It is much easy to condemn the West within the comfort of Pakistani borders than demanding elimination of home-grown highly lucrative industry of terrors.
Anwar Oct 16, 2012 06:33pm
Haters will continue to hate Anas! As far as I am concerned, this presents a very methodical and systematic analysis of the problem tied down with numbers. So if anyone wants to refute it - do research on your own and come up with a quantitative analysis. Poking at this piece with rhetoric will just not do!
warraich Oct 18, 2012 04:16am
at-least get your figures right about the collateral damage caused by drones.
Junaid Hafeez Oct 18, 2012 04:58am
I really appreciate the dispassionate approach with which the writer/research has come up with the justification of drone attacks. To counter the extremist ideology, we need a counter-ideology, that's true. I wish such pieces should get published in Urdu newspapers as well so that the masses might be able to come out of bigotry. Though not a fan of Imran Khan, I somehow believed in the fallacious theory that drones accelerate suicide attacks/acts of violence, but, the whole thing changed after studying the graphs. Do not know when the people of Pakistan would start looking at empirical evidences and researches, and stop sticking to the hopeless empty opiated rhetoric of religion. Keep it up, Mr Anas Abbas! Looking forward for more!
kausik Oct 17, 2012 06:53am
The relationship between USA and Pakistan is a long it started being allies in seato treaty during cold war with Pakistan giving airbases to USA and with USSR entering Afghanistan created Taliban and Al quida mujaheddin and till Iraq under sadam attacked Kuwait USA was a friend of Taliban and obl.when USA with Saudi allies attacked sadam by putting boots on ground obl hated it and declared USA as enemy due to his twisted sense of outrage decided to attack of 9/11 causing present drone attacks on that obl gone USA also provides significant economic aid and milatary hardware to pakistan. .
Ali S Oct 16, 2012 07:23pm
Wow, that's a brave article. Kudos to Dawn for publishing it without sanitizing it.
alexpressed Oct 16, 2012 10:43am
The data in the article is taken from Bureau of Investigative Journalism which relies on news reports from reliable Pakistani and US media sources and security agencies and also on locals and informants. Plus, you make also like to look at research by Farhat Taj which is supposed to be using information and data from locals.
Tanvir Oct 16, 2012 02:25pm
Very True!
Ali Oct 16, 2012 02:29pm
Great analysis even though I stopped reading after a few paragraphs since I believe two wrong does not make it right.
Eddied Oct 16, 2012 09:47am
At the moment it appears that drone strikes are the only thing that is working to stop the Taliban from taking over much of Pakistan...the Americans are saving Pakistan from their enemies...
Umar Suleman Oct 17, 2012 07:11am
As you rightly say, "this should not be seen in isolation". The favourable statistics you show relates drones with terrorists attacks inversely proportional, also need not to be seen in isolation. There was a 'small' army operation and lots of other actions taken by pakistani government and establishment, if you also show its timeline than another totally different conclusion may come up. Please try, and not see such stats in isolation to 'prove' your point. A point that is predictable from you since a long time. Btw, the data for these graph comes from which of your cited sources? Regards
mk Oct 16, 2012 10:12am
This was very informative but to call a spade a spade: the evidence here does not prove that drones reduce terror attacks. There is however sufficient evidence here to strongly dispute the IK argument that drones cause more terror attacks, and surely we should be protesting against Taliban more than drones. And, while drones may radicalize some people; it is quite likely the drones are killing more terrorists than it is creating, and this is borne out by the evidence here at least in the short to medium run. And finally there is of course the not so small issue of legality and human rights. I agree with you that Taliban are far worse in terms of violating our sovereignty and disregarding human rights. But that is still not sufficient for us or anybody to decide that the death of innocents from drone attacks is acceptable. My opinion on drones remains muddled.
citizen Oct 16, 2012 09:49am
truth is indeed the first casualty of war... in this war of narratives and counter narratives it becomes really confusing for an average person whom to trust. we should listen to the stories of the people who have lost their loved ones from the bombings of Taliban as well as those who have lost from the drone bombings. we need to bring human stories of misery to the fore not some graphs and figures. just my humble opinion.
Cyrus Howell Oct 16, 2012 04:14pm
It the Pakistan Army had sealed off the border with Afghanistan to stop Taliban from skipping over to Pakistan things might have been different, but that did not happen. If the army generals cannot protect their own country, what are they good for?
Cyrus Howell Oct 16, 2012 04:07pm
"The Pak Army has failed to protect tribal people." . Everyone knows this whether they want to admit it or not. It should be obvious the present government of Pakistan is not convened to protect and serve the people.
Kayenn Oct 17, 2012 08:07am
Drone attacks are approved by Pakistan Establihment - Military or Elected, against the payment of billions of dollars in economic and military aid......You could have not taken the threat by US asst secretary of state to bomb pakistan into stone age.... seriously and carried out your independent policy - you had the option !!!!
Arif Oct 17, 2012 08:42am
Absolutely agree, terrorism today is due to America's policy of protecting its interests and controlling the world's resources.
SI Oct 16, 2012 10:26am
This is an excellent article which is based on a very well analysed data showing the destruction caused by TTP and its affiliates/supporters. It is understandable that there have been lots of innocent lives lost in Drone strikes but the cost innocent Pakistani's has been far more. Wake up Pakistan before there is no freedom left to wake up to. We need to finish this religious extremism from the country be it in the form of Talibans or the intolerable mindset towards people of other faiths or becoming too emotionallly charged over idiotic and meaningless movies.
Sumit Oct 17, 2012 06:46am
So instead you should sit quietly and let the bigger wrong destroy the nation!
ghaleezguftar Oct 17, 2012 08:32am
While you proclaim to be a journalist and present facts and not opinions, it was shameless of you quote references which are equally unreliable against the ones you refuted. There are no facts in this drone campaign as it is secret. People who you say are announced as dead due to the surgical strike is not confirmed by any source even the drone operators. Also, a simple person without earning a degree in psychology can tell that anyone who is attacked without any reason and loses something or someone, gets angry and being angry is a volatile condition. You say, "Pakistan, being a vital non-Nato ally, must treat all Taliban as one, while allowing these strikes unabated, and stop decrying sovereignty issues because sovereignty, if Pakistan still has one, is foremost being violated by Taliban and Al Qaeda." Have you ever heard the words: foreign oppression, rebels, freedom fighters, traitors? Seems like you have a very deep love for our own people(your argument when someone would say that their is a foreign hand behind this)! Dont just jump onto the bandwagon just to get published!
Sana Nishat Oct 16, 2012 11:42am
Mr Annas Abbas. This is outstanding piece of research and Analysis. Drones Zindabaad
Naved Oct 17, 2012 05:53am
I really appreciate the writer for presenting a comparative study of drone vs suicide and bomb blast killings. This data should be eye an opener for the people suffering from drone fobia and are not able see other problems bigger than that. Drone will stop attacking FATA, if tribal people forced the terrorists out of this area or terrorists move out from there on their own. If the reasonable population of FATA will act as a host & supporter of these terrorists and facilitate them, then surely along with these terrorists they will also be killed in drone attacks. There is no doubt there are certain drone attacks carried out on wrong intelligence or miss their targets and cause innocent casualities, but most of such attacks are quite effective in getting rid of cruel, anti-Pakistan & anti-Islam taliban. I fail to understand what America will get by doing indiscriminate killing in the FATA. America should hand over this technology to Pakistan army and they should further intensify drone attacks to wipe out mindless taliban.
abbastoronto Oct 17, 2012 01:35pm
Dr. Munter and his wife Dr. Wyatt were the most Pakistan-friendly US Diplomats to date. They made themselves widely accessible to Pakistani people. Pakistan is not Iraq or Afghanistan.
Umair Oct 17, 2012 04:22am
Mr. Anas.. You are a great advocate of American Foreign policy in Pakistan. You have tried to tell us that no matter how illegal drone strikes are according to international norms but if the Americans want it.. you are going to dig out reasons for supporting it. America needs people like you everywhere to justify killings in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan.!
mahesh Oct 17, 2012 04:34am
good analysis. some people don't want to see the truth or incapable of doing so.
waqarlearner Oct 17, 2012 04:40am
Someone should present these facts on electronics media also to convey the reality to the masses
Hasan Syed Oct 17, 2012 03:29pm
When you have a cancer like disease, you need surgery, if local doctor
Guest Oct 17, 2012 03:19am
What a disgusting article! It's full of lies.
sattar rind Oct 16, 2012 10:48pm
its very nice article with evidence.
Aamir Amjad Oct 16, 2012 11:46pm
Because the army does not allow anyone to go there so that every thing remains unclear and can be manupulated
Aamir Amjad Oct 16, 2012 11:51pm
So we should be afraid of the backlash and let the nation live under terror for the next 50 years? Lets finish these hardcore terrorists once and for all with a full fledged operation and then follow with a political plan to bring into line their less harmful affiliates.
dr aq khan Oct 16, 2012 10:00pm
Excellent article based on facts. Well done sir, Pakistan needs analysts like you.
mahavir Oct 17, 2012 12:30am
How many Malalas were saved by drones by killing Talibans?
kausik Oct 17, 2012 06:00am
This excellent well researched article by mr Anas abbas should be a eye opener to all pakistani's of misplaced blame on drone casualties vs innocent civilian causalities in populous urban areas by suicide bombers and TTP terrorists and I compliment Dawn on publishing this excellent article showing actual casuality figures of civilians however it has nothing do with attack on innocent school going malala nothing justifies this premeditated caliculated attack to kill a single defenseless girl by her fellow citizens.unless a miraculous peacefull co existance is practiced by Al quida and TTP towards USA these drone attacks do not end till USA completely and voluntarily withdraws from region as promised by Obama and Romney in 2014 as they achieved objective of eliminating obl.
Marghoob Ahmed Siddiqui Oct 16, 2012 10:55pm
While no one will support Drone attacks, it is true Malala was the victim of one so called Muslim.
Numbersnumbers Oct 17, 2012 04:17pm
I assume that those supporting the TTP would not object to their own children being obliterated in bomb attacks or assassinated in target killings! (Like trying to kill Malala)! ... Perhaps they will put their own kids on busses in Swat so the TTP can test their guns on unarmed children!
Ozair Oct 16, 2012 09:07pm
Well said! and I referenced this in my comment.
Ahmed Oct 17, 2012 10:43am
Mr. Munter should be asked how many times he stepped out of the embassy to meet common people! Wasnt he scared?
Ahmed Oct 17, 2012 10:30am
Why dont you move with your family to places where drone strikes are common cuz this might change your thinking
Sijjee Oct 16, 2012 06:20pm
the same reason you wouldnt live there .. threat from TTP.
abbastoronto Oct 16, 2012 06:25pm
In a recent September speech on Pakistan, His Excellency Dr. Munter, the ex-US Ambassador stated that in his many encounters with common Pakistani people he was NEVER questioned about the Drones. People in Pakistan support the US policy. It is a very small and vocal opposition that opposes it for whatever reason.
Muhammad Omer Oct 17, 2012 09:34pm
So shameful for our country that its own journalists support foreign countries in sending their drones, agents here to kill our own people. Nowhere else in the whole world will you find anyone who so proudly allows foreign superpowers to come into his country and kill people be they innocent or criminals.
Muhammad Omer Oct 17, 2012 09:30pm
people that ambassadors speak to are the elite. Their interests are elsewhere. They would never dare oppose American Policy, Instead they always bend in front of any superpower.
Wasif Oct 17, 2012 09:13pm
Come on with current American political issues this is not an American war anymore, once the drone leaves these barbarians would be left alone for the Pakistan alone to deal with. Drones are very viable and realistic solution.
Ali Oct 17, 2012 09:09pm
Wonderful realistic article.
Amin Hussain Oct 16, 2012 06:36pm
The figures for civilian casualties are for "minimum reported civilians", does it account for reclassification by the US government?
Ignorantme Oct 17, 2012 07:47pm
A great article with nice arguments. I know most pakistanis would not agree with you but it is a bitter truth that more people died in the hands of terrorists that drones. Death is death no matter who caused it but I am sure most pakistani's prefer a death by their own brothers than the foreign drones. Unless you open up your eyes and see what the islamists are fighting for you could never suppress them.
ballofwire Oct 17, 2012 07:45pm
I hope that you don't ever lose a loved one to 'collateral damage' - but i'm afraid that would be the only way you could possibly realize what a piece of rubbish you've written here. Collateral damage through any means - drones or kitchen knives - is wrong.
Mutee Oct 17, 2012 12:46am
Congratulations on such a well written and well researched piece. However, I couldn't help but notice your omission to report the deaths of more than 176 children that were also part of the stats. Oh wait, that will introduce humanity in this article and that is certainly not the agenda. Also, drone missiles, or Scorpions as they are lovingly known in some circles, striking on rescue operations and targeting funeral prayers are missing in the data provided. But that is because this is impartial analysis, these things don't matter, as long as there are reduced number of casualties in 5 big cities, its ok to kill anyone in Waziristan.
Ali Abbas Oct 17, 2012 07:05pm
We can all huff and puff over who is right and who is wrong all we want and use numbers to prove our point. The fact is that if Pakistanis cleans their house then no one else will have to come and do it for us. Pakistani nation is the most paranoid and self destructive nation in the world. The fact that Pakistan is on the verge of disaster is not because of US, India or Israel, its because we keep finding excuses for teorrists and refuse to kick them out of our country.
Yousaf Rahman Oct 17, 2012 05:39pm
So 15-25% collateral damage is to be tolerated? As a Pakistani you should be ashamed of yourself if you think so. Would the American public tolerate 25% civilian deaths if it were their own people being killed? Of course not. Then why must we? Is an American life more valuable than a Pakistani life?
Numbersnumbers Oct 17, 2012 04:45pm
Don't stop there! Please give us a list of these "lies" you speak of so we can judge for ourselves!
Numbersnumbers Oct 17, 2012 04:34pm
And why don't YOU move your family to the Paradise that is TTP controlled territory so you can enjoy all the freedoms they offer and the good schools for your daughters!
Numbersnumbers Oct 17, 2012 04:31pm
Question 1) Over the last ten years, how many civilians have been killed by drone strikes and how many militants have been killed in those same strikes? Question 2) Over the last ten years, how many civilians have been killed by TTP/ terrorist attacks in Pakistan over the last ten years, and how many TTP/terrorists were killed in those same attacks? I believe that most people will agree that the Drone campaign targets the terrorists/militants, while the TTP campaign overwhelmingly target civilians!
gul bacha afridi Oct 17, 2012 02:43pm
U definitely deserve a victoria cross or a legion of merit. keep it up. well done.
Sceptic Oct 17, 2012 01:09pm
This is called selective analysis, done at the behest of others. Presenting manufactured graphs and charts does not make it right or justified. The bias and quisling attitude is obvious.
muhammad Oct 16, 2012 02:52pm
In fact Drones are hurting terrorists very badly that's why their advocates like Imran Khan and Munawar Hasan are campaigning against the drones attacks why they never talked about the innocent people killed due to Tliban attacks
arslank Oct 17, 2012 09:23am
This is the most ridiculous piece i have ever read where you are trying your best to defend something which is inhumane..Whats wrong with people these days?Why cant we see both Drones and TTP as something evil as both are killing innocent people..Why do we have to choose sides of one evil? Those who defend drone strikes are as much pathetic as those who defend TTP.
areluctantpakistani Oct 17, 2012 09:21am
Give peace a chance? Yeah, like the Taliban did when they were not being subjected to drone attacks. You have no idea what you are dealing with, do you?
Afridi Oct 16, 2012 02:20pm
i fully endorse this article. i belong to tribal areas and pak army is not very successful as the drones are in eliminating terrorists. people atleast hope that drones have killed many prominent militants bt army have not killed a single one they just tell in the media blah blah. as a tribal resident i wud US either extend drones attack to other tribal agencies or they should carry out the cleaning operation or they can bring UN peace force bcoz pak army has failed to protect tribal people neither they allow local people to stand up and support them.
Khanzada Oct 16, 2012 04:48pm
Someone here is so desperate for the continuity of drones.. even if 7 civillians killed in 2012 what if they were kids ? what if they were old age ? what if they were women ? ... drones outrun their lives. Every single Pakistani life cost worth more than many terrorists. I see no difference in a drone and a target killer.
karim Oct 16, 2012 01:32pm
Mr Anas's article has more research and facts that your post.
Sameer Oct 16, 2012 01:30pm
One of the most amusing part is your claim it maybe not possible for victim to ascertain whether they were under drone attack; however for you it is very easy to ascertain how many people got killed and how many were terrrorist even though you have never been to that area
Imran Haider Oct 16, 2012 09:57am
Mr. Anas, You need to collect primary data yourself to come to a conclusion. Your reliance on secondary data, and labeling some as realistic and the rest as biased doesn't really make your post a well-researched and fact-based one. I fail to understand why would the "establishment" support Taliban when they actually attack, bomb, kill, and behead soldiers - and even generals. Secondly, are you aware of the backlash of all the groups that will befall our cities and towns if we go for an all-out offensive? Do you remember the campaign of 2006 when our army got a severe beating? While the arguments of pro-establishment folks are not convincing, yours are not based on sound footing either.
Kashif Rizvi Oct 16, 2012 01:26pm
Tremendous article, welldone Anas
KS Oct 17, 2012 06:56am
One simple Question ? How you get these precise numbers for drone strikes.. So you go on ground after drone attack and count 1,2,3 ... really? and how you differentiate between civilians and terrorists ? do terrorists wear some bar code ??
Iqbal Oct 16, 2012 10:19am
only 7 civilian casualties in 2012? you are kidding me! if drones are so accurate, why none of our distinguished reporters and journalists live in FATA for 6 months?
Sameer Oct 16, 2012 01:22pm
You argue Standford study is biased. Could you please tell how is your data about victim of drone attack accurate since you yourself have never been to that area or maybe your data is actually from USA. Further more do you know all military age male are considered legitimate target by USA even though they may be civilian. Can you tell me how do you know lawyer for drone attack is a known sympathiser for drone or probably this is a way to discredit him. If he had been Taliban sympathiser, he would have probably been refused visa
Pakistani Oct 16, 2012 01:19pm
Good Job Anas Sahab. Long live Pakistan, Down with Taliban. More Drones but with better accuracy.
Hassaan. Oct 16, 2012 10:21am
Appreciate your research but I would rather trust the local people than statistics. Their output is MOST important. They know more than anyone researcher.
@H_Balouch Oct 16, 2012 11:49am
JM Oct 16, 2012 12:47pm
FATA is unsafe because of the militants, who kill many more people than drones.
Sandip Oct 16, 2012 12:37pm
Because they are not allowed too or are too scared to be killed (beheaded) by Taliban
Carol Anne Grayson Oct 16, 2012 12:11pm
I presume those supporting drones wouldn't then object to their own children being obliterated.. perhaps they will be putting their own kids forward to test the accuracy of any new drones on the market...
mk Oct 16, 2012 12:06pm
He explained why he thinks the NYU report is biased, and uses data from BIJ instead. Rather unreasonable to ask him to collect his own data - BIJ seems quite independent and I think it is good that someone is attempting to find out the real facts instead of opinion-ating from nothing. And if we are too afraid to fight ourselves and suffer the backlash; and we are also against drones; the only other option is to surrender our country to the Taliban.
Omair Oct 17, 2012 07:08am
Why doesn't the ISAF and Afghan Army sealing the border? Who stops them? You should know the geography of the region to know if it can be sealed. Durand line is very porous and cannot be sealed
Shahzad Oct 16, 2012 01:40pm
Can I ask in which country these drone attacks are taking place because stats doesn't add up with drone attack causalities in Pakistan's Northern Tribal Areas.
Naheed Oct 16, 2012 11:45am
Brilliant analysis! Well done, Anas Abbas.
Mehran Oct 17, 2012 07:39am
U are great advocate of American Foreign policy in Pakistan. BUT We are still against Drones, THEY SHOULD BE STOPPED.
Javed Oct 16, 2012 11:16am
Great piece Mr Anas. brilliant research which has really opened my eyes. thanks