Majority of Pakistanis see US drone attacks "as their liberator," finds new study

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Washington, Oct 14 (ANI): Amid reports of civilians in Pakistan's tribal areas opposing US drone attacks in their country, a study carried out by an American professor may astonish the world, as it argues that the civilians in these tribal regions actually favour the drone attacks, seeing them 'as their liberator.'

Brian Williams, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, is the author of this work, which will be out this month, AOL News reported.

"I went into this study with an open mind. I didn't know where the data would take me... And what I found is that the people (in those regions) are in some sense rooting for the drones," Williams said.

Ever since terrorist groups took over the largely autonomous northwest regions of Pakistan, they have imposed a strict, fundamentalist law, shut down all-girls schools and executed those who dared to voice their opposition.

"The Taliban and al-Qaida have turned their back on the Pakistani people," said Williams, who went to work with a Pakistani colleague, devising a survey that asked hundreds of these civilians what they thought of their lives and the CIA drone attacks.

The study concluded that 52 percent of respondents felt the strikes were accurate, 58 percent thought they did not cause anti-American sentiment, 60 percent thought militants were "damaged" by the strikes, and 70 percent felt that the Pakistani military should carry out its own strikes against the terrorists.

The civilians in the tribal regions "see the drones as their liberator," the study added.

Though his poll is in stark contrast to another recent published work that showed overwhelming displeasure from tribal residents with the drone attacks, Williams' contribution seems to jibe with a third study that looked at the accuracy of the drone attacks.

That study, released earlier this year, noted that in 2010, one civilian dies for every 10 militants in Pakistan. By extension of this, the civilians are pleased with the drone strikes.

"Look, I'm not defending the drones," Williams remarked, adding that he just hopes that studies like his can move the discourse "into this gray, middle zone." (ANI)

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