Despite worldwide condemnation, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Washington is not going to suspend its drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.
Panetta said on Friday that the US needs to keep up an open-ended drone war against what he called militants not only in “Pakistan, but also in Yemen, in Somalia and I think it ought to continue to be a tool we ought to use where necessary.”
The US defense secretary said that the airstrikes are necessary to prevent an attack on America.
He went on to say that CIA might widen the scope of the drone strikes depending “on the nature of the threat that we’re confronting. We are in a war.”
Washington uses its assassination drones in Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Somalia, claiming that they target terrorists. The attacks, however, have mostly led to massive civilian casualties.
Rights groups and the United Nations have censured the US drone attacks as targeted killings, stressing that the raids flout international law.
Pakistan’s tribal regions are attacked by US terror drones almost regularly, with Washington claiming that militants are the targets. However, casualty figures clearly indicate that civilians are the main victims.
Despite Pakistan’s repeated calls on the US to end the drone attacks, the US government continues its deadly strikes on the country’s tribal belt.
Over the past few months, massive protests have also been staged across Pakistan to condemn the United States for violating the country’s sovereignty.
Washington also regularly carries out assassination drone attacks in Yemen, which is located on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula and is among the poorest countries in the region.
Yemenis have held several anti-US rallies across the country over the past months and have called on their government to cut all ties with Washington over the deadly airstrikes.