One out of every three killed in US drone attack is a Pak civilian: US think tank

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Washington, Mar.2 (ANI): Backing Pakistan's stance that US drone strikes in the country's lawless tribal regions have killed numerous civilians, a report by the New America Foundation has revealed that one out of every three killed by such missile hits is a civilian.

The latest report says that 32 percent of the drone victims in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), over the past six years, have been civilians.

The organisation had issued a similar report in October last year, which showed that drone strikes were decimating militants, killing their leaders as well as low-level activists.

"Our study shows that the 114 reported drone strikes in northwest Pakistan, including 18 in 2010, from 2004 to the present, have killed approximately between 834 and 1,216 individuals," the report named 'The Year of the Drone', said.

"Of these, around 549 to 849 were described as militants in reliable press accounts, about two-thirds of the total on average. Thus, the true civilian fatality rate since 2004 according to our analysis is approximately 32 per cent," The Dawn quoted the report, as saying.

The report, however, described the drone strikes as an "unpopular, but necessary evil."

The report, which has been compiled by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann, said there were 51 reported strikes in Pakistan's tribal areas, compared to a total of 45 during two terms under President George W. Bush.

"So far in 2010, between 80 and 140 reported militants have been killed in drone strikes," it said.

The report also said that the Obama Administration is unlikely to use the unmanned Predator aircrafts against militants hiding in and around Balochistan's capital Quetta but pointed out that it would remain an important tool for the US against extremists in the region.

"Despite the controversy drone strikes are likely to remain a critical tool for the United States to disrupt Al-Qaeda and Taliban operations and leadership structures," the study said. (ANI)

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