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Fri Feb 8, 2013 7:33AM
A Pakistani demonstrator holds up a burning US flag during a protest against drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal region. (File photo)

A Pakistani demonstrator holds up a burning US flag during a protest against drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal region. (File photo)

The United States has carried out more than 360 assassination drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004, killing nearly 3,500 people, a report says. According to the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent organization, the US administration has used 363 of its assassination drones to hit targets in Pakistan since 2004, with 311 of them occurring under the administration of President Barack Obama. The terror airstrikes have killed between 2,634 and 3,468 people in Pakistan, the organization stated, adding that at least 176 children have been killed in the attacks. The assassination drone attacks have also left between 1,268 to 1,431 people injured, the Bureau added. On Thursday, Obama’s counterterrorism advisor and nominee to lead the CIA spy agency, John Brennan, defended Washington’s drone attacks in Pakistan at his confirmation hearing over the ‘targeted killings.’ He claimed that the airstrikes protect American lives and prevent potential terror attacks. Meanwhile, anti-war protesters at the session interrupted the hearing, shouting slogans against the drone strikes and accusing Brennan of involvement in policies which result in deaths of civilians, including children. However, Brennan, who is also known as the architect of the drone war, said after a short halt to the hearing that “disagreements should never prevent us from carrying out our national security and intelligence responsibilities.” A study conducted in September 2012 by two American universities, Stanford Law School and New York University, said that the US drone strikes killed far more people that Washington had acknowledged. The study also said the strikes had traumatized innocent people and largely been ineffective, as only two percent of those killed were “high-level targets.” The study also accused the US administration of misrepresenting the air raids as a “surgically precise and effective tool” for the safety of America, saying in reality “there is significant evidence that US drone strikes have injured and killed civilians.” The United States reportedly has about 8,000 drones in its arsenal, with the Pentagon planning to use them more in future. SAB/HSN
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