Since 2004, 2,714 killed in 409 US drone-attacks in Pakistan
The US has carried out 409 drone attacks in Pakistan since January 2004, killing 2,714 people and injuring 728 others, Dawn news reported today. The attacks over the years have targeted the areas of Bajaur, Bannu, Hangu, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Nushki, Orakzai, and South Waziristan. Majority of the strikes were carried out during the government of the Pakistan Peoples Party between 2008-12.
Citing sources within the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA), the paper said the period (2008-2012) saw 336 aerial attacks, in which 2,282 people died and 658 received injuries. 2010 alone saw 117 attacks that killed 775 people and injured 193 others. Between 2013-18, during the government of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, 65 drone attacks occurred that killed 301 people and injured 70 others.
In 2018, two drone attacks killed one person and injured another. The top leadership of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has been killed in drone attacks while Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed in one such strike in 2016. Days after Mullah Mansour's killing, the then Pakistan army chief General Raheel Sharif had said, "US drone strikes in Pakistani territory are regrettable and must stop."
Pakistan opposes drone strikes, saying they violate its sovereignty. Going further on the data, NACTA officials said 289 attacks were conducted in North Waziristan alone, in which 1,651 were killed and 421 others injured. South Waziristan saw 91 attacks that killed 707 and injured 215.
The report says there were 13 strikes in the Kurram Agency that killed 110 and injured 32, five in the Khyber Agency that killed 57 and injured 2. There were four strikes in the Bajaur Agency that killed 129, two in Hangu that killed seven and injured two, one in the Mohmand Agency that killed 18, and one in Nushki that killed two.
Quoting officials of the Internal Counter Terrorism Authority of Pakistan, the paper said that at least 19,177 civilians and officials have been killed so far and 47,869 others injured in the 18,850 terror-related attacks in war-torn Afghanistan's neighboring country since 2001.
The attacks, the NACTA officials said, mostly targeted Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and were carried out through different methods that included bomb explosions, hand-grenade attacks, mine explosions, missiles, rockets, and suicide attacks. Terrorists also targeted minorities to instigate sectarian violence and employed sophisticated methods, including the usage of Improvised Explosive Devices - vehicle explosive devices as well as radio-controlled improvised devices, the paper said.
In 2018, at least 405 terrorist attacks took place in Pakistan, killing 133 officials and 233 civilians. In Punjab, 14 incidents of bomb blasts, suicide attacks, and engagements with terrorists killed six LEA officials and as many civilians this year. Sindh has seen 11 incidents of terror-related attacks, including strikes on LEAs, through bomb explosions. Meanwhile, Islamabad has remained safe so far this year.