U.N. team sides with Pakistan in dispute over U.S. drone strikes
ISLAMABAD — The head of a U.N. team that made a secret investigation of casualties from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan declared on Friday that the attacks violate Islamabad's sovereignty.
Ben Emmerson, the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said the Pakistani government made clear to him that it does not consent to the strikes — a position that has been disputed by American officials.
“It is time for the international community to heed the concerns of Pakistan, and give the next democratically elected government of Pakistan the space, support and assistance it needs to deliver a lasting peace on its own territory without forcible military interference by other states,” said Emmerson.
President Obama stepped up covert CIA drone strikes targeting al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border when he took office in 2009.
The strikes have caused growing controversy because of the secrecy surrounding them and claims that they have caused significant civilian casualties — allegations denied by the United States.
According to a U.N. statement that Emmerson emailed to The Associated Press on Friday, the Pakistani government told him it has confirmed at least 400 civilian deaths by drones on its territory. The statement was initially released on Thursday, following the investigator's three-day visit to Pakistan, which ended Wednesday. The visit was kept secret until Emmerson left.
Imtiaz Gul, an expert on Pakistani militancy who is helping Emmerson's team, said that the organization he runs, the Center for Research and Security Studies, gave the U.N. investigator case studies on 25 strikes that allegedly killed about 200 civilians.
The U.N. investigation into civilian casualties from drone strikes and other targeted killings in Pakistan and several other countries began in January and is expected to deliver its conclusions in October.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S., China to meet, just days after interception of Navy patrol plane
- Libyan militia accuses Egypt, United Arab Emirates of airstrikes
- Police, government blamed in U.K. child sex exploitation
- Peace plan backed, Ukraine says
- 111-year-old from Japan recognized as oldest man
- Kiev allowed to inspect relief convoy headed to Ukrainian civilians
- Afghan leader amplifies pressure on pair of political rivals to resolve differences by next week
- U.S. awaits outcome of Afghanistan election; Pentagon says forces could stay longer, if needed
- Afghan candidate threatens boycott of election audit
- Obama ‘dithers’ on Syria, Defense officials say