1. Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki, 16 years old - American
Abdul Rahman was the 16-year old son of American-Yemeni Islamic scholar-turned-AQ-leader Anwar al-Awlaki, killed by a CIA drone strike on October 14th, 2011. Abdul Rahman was a US citizen, born in Denver, Colorado on September 13th, 1995. Nine others, including a 17 year old, were also killed in the attack. Abdul Rahman al-Awlaki was not a suspect in absolutely anything. President Obama said he was ‘surprised and upset’ over Abdul Rahman’s death, whereas a former government official said the murder of the American teen was “a mistake, a bad mistake.” Another US official called it a case of Awlaki just being “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Seems too many brown kids run into this problem.
2. Momina Bibi, 67 years old - Pakistani
The photo below is of Nabila Rehman, 9 years old, holding a photo of the drone strike that killed her grandmother, Momina Bibi, on October 24th, 2012 in North Waziristan. She, her brother and grandmother had been gathering okra outside when they heard the hum of the CIA drone that would claim Momina Bibi’s life.
The family raised funds and one year following the terrible incident, in October 2013, Nabila, her 9 year old brother and her father traveled to Washington DC to speak to lawmakers. Only five members of congress attended the hearing to listen to the Rehman family’s experience and pleas.
3. The Wedding Convoy - Yemeni
On December 12th, 2013 a wedding convoy, outside the town of Radda in the al-Baydah province of Yemen, was struck by a US drone. Following the attack, Yemeni officials claimed that around ‘14 innocent civilians were killed, 22 injured and 9 were in critical condition.’ According to the US government, the attack had intended to strike a known AQ militant Shawqi Ali Ahmad al Badani. The US government denied the deaths of civilians, claiming that they had killed militants associated with al Badani.
4. Tariq Aziz, 16 years old - Pakistani
Tariq Aziz is one of 97 Pakistani children named, thus far, in The Bureau for Investigative Journalism’s project “Naming the Dead”. Thus far, TBIJ has gathered the names of 631 Pakistanis killed in drone strikes, including alleged (but never proven) militants. According to the project’s case study on Tariq, the teen had “attended a high-profile anti-drone rally in Islamabad in October 2011.” Upon returning home to his town of Mir Ali, in North Waziristan, Tariq was killed in a US drone strike, alongside three others including his 12 year old cousin, Waheed Khan.
More than a year prior to his own death, in 2010, his 16 year old cousin Aswar Ullah had also been killed in a US drone strike.
Check out TBIJ’s analysis on why all those killed in drone attacks should be named.
5. Jan Miya, Abdul Ghafar and Rahmat Gul’s Families & Village - Afghan
On September 7th, 2013 around 14 civilians were killed in a US drone strike in the Eastern province of Kunar, in Afghanistan. A 28 year old farmer, Jan Miya, lost his brother, his brother’s wife and his 18 month old nephew. While villagers alleged 14 innocent civilians had been killed, NATO’s ISAF initially maintained that “10 enemy forces” had been killed in the attack.
Kunar’s governor Shuja ul-Mulkh Jalala told Reuters that “four women, four children, two drivers, a merchant and three suspected (insurgents) were killed.”
6. Syed Wali Shah, 7 years old - Pakistani
Syed Wali Shah was killed in an August 21st, 2009 drone strike against an Islamic school, believed to be holding a known militant. In the attack, “up to 21 people were killed, including three women and six children” - of whom Syed was one. Five homes were destroyed in the attack as well.
Learn About More Victims and Drone Warfare
Living Under Drones project shares the first-hand accounts of victims killed, injured and/or intimately affected by US drone strikes.
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s ‘Naming the Dead’ project focuses on naming all those - including alleged militants - killed in US drone strikes in Pakistan. The project hopes to expand to other countries affected by the covert wars.
In October 2013, Amnesty International published a report “Will I be Next?” (PDF) on US drone strikes in Pakistan, providing perhaps the most comprehensive human rights report on the attacks.
At the same time as Amnesty’s publication, Human Rights Watch also published a report after examining six drone strikes (“targeted killings”) in Yemen, finding human rights and international law violations and harm to civilians. The report is entitled “Between a Drone and Al Qaeda” (PDF).
Also in October 2013, Ben Emmerson, UN Special Rapporteur on
Counter-Terrorism and Human Rights, released a report (PDF press release) on the effects on human rights and counter-terrorism as a result of US drone strikes. His report coincided with another report by UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns.
Heyns’ report (PDF) argued that while drones weren’t “inherently illegal” they were creating a culture of “global policing” and the risk encouraging “more states and terrorist groups to acquire unmanned weapons.”
A study published in 2013, conducted by US military adviser Larry Lewis who looked at airstrikes from mid 2010 to mid 2011, found that US drone strikes were more deadly to Afghan civilians than manned aircraft.
On December 3rd 2013, in AJAM online, Musa al-Gharbi asked if the problem with drones is the technology itself …or the strategy? Columbia Law School’s Center for Civilians in Conflict also seems to think there’s a problem (PDF) in drones as counter-terrorism strategy that law and policymakers need to take a closer look at.
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