The United States government has made hundreds of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004 using drones (unmanned aerial vehicles) controlled by the American Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division. Most of these attacks are on targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Northwest Pakistan.
These strikes were begun by President George W. Bush and have increased substantially under President Barack Obama. Some media refer to the series of attacks as a "drone war". Until very recently, the U.S. had officially denied the extent of its policy; in May 2013 it acknowledged for the first time that four U.S. citizens, including Anwar Al-Awlaki, had been killed in the strikes. Surveys have shown that the strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where they have contributed to a negative perception of the United States.
There is a debate regarding the number of civilian and militant casualties. An estimated 286 to 890 civilians have been killed, including 168 to 197 children. Amnesty International found that a number of victims were unarmed and that some strikes could amount to war crimes.
Pakistan's Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, has repeatedly demanded an end to the strikes, stating: "The use of drones is not only a continual violation of our territorial integrity but also detrimental to our resolve and efforts at eliminating terrorism from our country". The Peshawar High Court has ruled that the attacks are illegal, inhumane, violate the UN charter on human rights and constitute a war crime. The Obama administration disagrees, stating that the attacks do not violate international law, and that the method of attack is precise and effective.
3 US viewpoint
4 Pakistani position
5 Media reporting from other countries
6 Al Qaeda response
7 United Nations human rights concerns
8 Reactions from people in...
References: 15 Further reading
16 External links
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