Saturday, June 5, 2010

UN Criticises CIA Drone Attacks

A UN human rights expert has criticised the US government's covert program to use unmanned drones to strike terrorists inside Pakistan

The attacks are not likely to stop or change, despite the criticism from the UN.

US officials insist the CIA program has been an effective tool to take out insurgents along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, particularly those hidden beyond the reach of the military.

The stepped-up use of drones over the past year has shown no signs of slowing down and was credited earlier this week with the killing inside Pakistan of al-Qaida's third in command.

The Obama administration does not acknowledge the secret program, but one senior US official defended its use Wednesday, saying a careful and rigorous targeting process is used to avoid civilian casualties.

The program, which officials say has killed hundreds of insurgents in dozens of strikes over the past year, has been condemned by critics who say it may constitute illegal assassinations and violate international law.

In a 29-page report released Wednesday, Philip Alston, the independent UN investigator on extrajudicial killings, called on countries to lay out rules for carrying out such strikes.

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