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IPN member reports show 24 dead in Pakistan from US drones in September

First published 2nd Oct 2013

According to a report released on Monday by Islamabad based IPN member, Conflict Monitoring Center (CMC), 24 people were killed by U.S. drones strikes in Pakistan in the month of September. The report, which is based on data collected from mainstream national and international media sources, documented a total of eleven missiles fired in four strikes over the course of the month. A concurrent report, issued by fellow IPN member The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, cited similar figures, reporting 16-24 dead, of whom none were reported to be civilians. 

The CMC report draws attention to the timing of the strikes, noting that three of the four attacks occurred on dates surrounding the visit of Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, to the United Nations General Assembly session in New York on September 27th. Drone strikes were reported in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan on the 22nd, 29th, and 30th of September. In his address to the GA, Sharif told the assembled delegates and heads of state that the use of drone strikes in Pakistan is “a continued violation of [Pakistan’s] territorial integrity.”  The Pakistani premier stated that while his country condemned terrorism “in all its forms and manifestations”, the war on terror “must be waged within the framework of international law.” Sharif is the first Pakistani leader to raise the issue of drones at the General Assembly since the CIA began its covert war in 2004. 

Although most of the victims of September’s drone strikes have not yet been named, TBIJ and CMC have confirmed the identities of six of the victims.  Among those reported killed is Mullah Sangeen Zadran – an “alleged commander in the Haqqani Network and reportedly the Afghan Taliban’s ‘shadow governor’ in Afghanistan’s Paktika province”, according to TBIJ’s report. The names of five further ‘reported militants’ are listed on TBIJ’s ‘Naming the Dead’ website. According to both reports none of the victims of September’s strikes were reportedly civilians. TBIJ highlights that this is the ninth consecutive month without a confirmed civilian casualty.  

Despite these figures, Prime Minister Sharif noted in his address that civilian casualties of drone strikes (a figure TBIJ estimates to be close to 400) are “detrimental to our resolve and efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism from Pakistan”. TBIJ’s Naming the Dead project, which Every Casualty helped launch to the public on 24 September, estimates that despite the figures reported by the U.S. and other media sources, nearly 1/5 of the 2,500 people killed in drone strikes have been civilians. Naming the Dead has so far identified by name 568 people reportedly killed in U.S. drone strikes, of which 295 are civilians.

The Every Casualty Campaign supports the work being done to identify those killed by CMC and TBIJ and urges the governments of Pakistan and the United States to take greater care to ensure casualty recording is being undertaken to the highest possible standards. This includes promptly recording, correctly identifying and publicly acknowledging (when it is safe to do so) those that have died. Such a record will be essential to ensuring that the rights of victims and their families are respected and to creating a detailed analysis of civilian harm which can inform future military tactics towards the protection of civilians.

Included below is a full list of reported drone strikes, missiles fired, and casualties compiled by CMC. Detailed information regarding these strikes can also be found on Naming the Dead’s website

Drone Attacks in Pakistan, 2013