According to the statistics compiled by Pakistani authorities, the Afghanistan-based US drones killed 708 people in 44 predator attacks targeting the tribal areas between January 1 and December 31, 2009.
For each Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist killed by US drones, 140 innocent Pakistanis also had to die. Over 90 per cent of those killed in the deadly missile strikes were civilians, claim authorities.
The success percentage for the drone hits during 2009 was hardly 11 per cent. On average, 58 civilians were killed in these attacks every month, 12 persons every week and almost two people every day. Most of the attacks were carried out on the basis of human intelligence, reportedly provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen, who are spying for the US-led allied forces in Afghanistan.
Of the five successful predator attacks carried out in 2009, the first one came on January 1, which reportedly killed two senior al-Qaeda leaders - Usama al-Kin and Sheikh Ahmed Salim - both wanted by the American Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Kin was the chief operational commander of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan and had replaced Abu Faraj Al Libi after his arrest in 2004.
The second successful drone attack was conducted on August 5 in South Waziristan that killed the most wanted fugitive chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan Baitullah Mehsud along with his wife.
The US State Department had announces a $5million head money for information leading to Baitullah, making him the only Pakistani fugitive with the head money separately announced by Islamabad and Washington.
- DAWN Group of Newspapers
- © The DAWN Group of Newspapers