A staggering 90 percent of victims of US drone strikes in countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan were not the intended targets, according to a leaked US government report.
US online publication The Intercept revealed the figures using documents leaked by a source within the American intelligence community.
The documents related to ‘Operation Haymaker’ a special operations campaign in northeastern Afghanistan, which showed that US special operations airstrikes using unmanned droves killed more than 200 people between January 2012 and February 2013.
Of those, only 35 were the intended targets.
During one five-month period of the operation, The Intercept reveals, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets.
That despite the fact that in countries such as Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US maintains extensive intelligence capabilities on the ground.
In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence assets on the ground the ratio of collateral damage may well be much worse, The Intercept contends.
Drone strikes are a method favoured by US President Barack Obama who approves each of the targets.
However, the strikes have caused widespread anger, particularly in Pakistan, where hundreds of civilians have died as a result of drone attacks.
Military officials often accept some level of collateral damage on the basis that anyone who is near a target is likely to be involved in terrorism.
When collateral targets cannot be identified, they're identified as "Enemies Killed In Action," which means that the government cannot be held accountable.
According to the ‘Naming the Dead’ project by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, of some 2400 people killed in CIA drone strikes in tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, a fifth are described as civilians.
Read The Intercept’s full report here.Read More »