- They must be controlled
By: Raja Furqan Ahmad
A drone attack or strike is made by an unmanned combat aerial vehicle that fires a missile at a target. The word drone was first time used in 1946 but this technology in recent years made the term more common. The drone is mostly used in a situation in which fighting is difficult or too risky. The drones can be automatic or remote. Drones can fly for a long period of time and they play a key role in different aspects of aviation.
World War 1 saw the first real introduction of aircraft, as the British Army used aerial imagery to capture maps and location. Toward the end of the war, the US Army was working on drones. In the early stages of World War 2 the USA produces first remote control aircraft. The U.S. military had experimented with pilotless aeroplanes as “aerial torpedoes” or flying bombs as far back as the First World War, but with no great success until the Vietnam War, when jet-propelled, camera-equipped drones built by Teledyne-Ryan were launched and controlled from U.S. Air Force C-130s. Israel was the first country which developed military drone technology after the Arab-Israel war in 1973. This technology made progress and has become one of the most important and famous inventions of the century.
The CIA had been flying unarmed drones over Afghanistan since 2000. It began to fly armed drones after the September 11 attacks. Some were used during the air war against the Taliban in late 2001. But by February 2002 the CIA hadn’t yet used a drone for a strike outside military support. On 14 November 2001, five weeks into America’s war against Al-Qaida, a small, unmanned, remote-controlled aeroplane called a Predator took off from a US airbase in Uzbekistan, crossed the border into Afghanistan and with a video camera attached to its belly started tracking a convoy of vehicles believed to be carrying jihadi leaders along a road in Kabul. A group of officers and spies, monitoring the streamed footage from inside a trailer in a parking lot at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, watched the convoy stop outside a building. With the push of a button, the Predator fired a Hellfire missile at the building, the back half of which exploded. Seven people, survivors of the blast, were seen fleeing to another nearby structure. A second Hellfire destroyed that shelter, too. Among the dead were Mohammed Atef, Al-Qaida’s military chief and Osama Bin Laden’s son-in-law. Five weeks earlier, on October 7, a drone strike had been launched against another caravan, this one carrying the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, but the missile missed. Doubts about this newfangled technology remained. However, the era of the armed drone, the weapon that has since come to define US-style warfare in the 21st century, had unambiguously begun.
Drone technology is one of the most important parts of the future of warfare. It is also a threat to liberties around the world. As drone strikes play an important role in new warfare, there should put some limitation as in every successful drone strike on terrorists, innocent people are also killed. Drones have great advantages, and have become necessary for security as they can be used where fighting is difficult or too risky. It is a need of time
The first drone attack in Pakistan was on 18 June 2004.The first known US drone strike killed five to eight people including Nek Muhammad Wazir and two children, in a strike near Wana, South Waziristan. The Pakistan Army initially claimed the attack as its own work. Some notable drone strikes in Pakistan are the Damadola, the Datta Khel, the 2009 Makin and Miramshah airstrikes.
On 13 January 2006, the Central Intelligence Agency fired missiles into the Pakistani village of Damadola in the Bajaur tribal area, about seven kilometers from the Afghan border, killing at least 18 people. Originally the Bajaur tribal area government claimed that at least four foreign members of Al-Qaeda were among the dead. US and Pakistani officials later admitted that no Al-Qaeda leaders perished in the strike and that only local villagers were killed.
There was an American airstrike on 17 March 2011 in Datta Khel, North Waziristan, that killed 44 people and led to widespread condemnation in Pakistan. Sherabat Khan Wazir, a top commander of Hafiz Gul Bahadur’s Taliban faction, was killed in the strike, and in response, Bahadur threatened to end the peace deal struck with the Pakistani government almost four years earlier. The Makin airstrike was launched on 23 June 2009 by US drones on a funeral procession in Makin, South Waziristan. The Miramshah airstrike took place on Friday 12 September 2008 in in North Waziristan.
Drone technology is not only used by the military but also by militants or terrorist groups, Small drones and quadcopters have been used for strikes by ISIS. A group of 12 have been piloted by specially trained pilots to drop munitions onto US-backed ground forces. They have been able to evade ground defence forces. During the battle for Mosul, ISIS was able to kill or wound dozens of Iraqi soldiers by dropping light explosives or 40-millimetre grenades from numerous drones attacking at the same time.
There are vocal critics of the use of drones. A major criticism is that they result in excessive collateral damage. David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum wrote in The New York Times that drone strikes “have killed about 14 terrorist leaders”. It has also killed an unknown number of militants. But, according to Pakistani sources, they have also killed some 700 civilians. Grégoire Chimayo’s analysis, of one three-hour-long surveillance and attack operation on a convoy of three SUVs that killed civilians in Afghanistan in February 2010, shows a typical if notorious, case. Throughout the operation, there is a sense of the drone controllers’ desperation to destroy the people and vehicles, whatever the evidence of their clearly civilian nature. It is difficult to reconcile these figures because the drone strikes are often in areas inaccessible to independent observers and the data includes reports by local officials and local media, neither of whom are reliable sources. Critics also fear that by making killing seem clean and safe, so-called surgical drone strikes will allow the USA to remain in a perpetual state of war. However, others maintain that drones “allow for a much closer review and much more selective targeting process than do other instruments of warfare” and are subject to Congressional oversight. Like any military technology, armed UAVs will kill people, combatants and innocents alike, thus “the main turning point concerns the question of whether we should go to war at all.” The New America Foundation stated in mid-2011 that from 2004 to 2011, 80 percent of the 2,551 people killed in the strikes were militants. The Foundation stated that 95 percent of those killed in 2010 were militants and that, as of 2012, 15 percemt of the total people killed by drone strikes were either known civilians or unknown. The Foundation also states that in 2012 the rate of known civilian and unknown casualties was two percent, whereas the Bureau of Investigative Journalism said the rate of civilian casualties for 2012 was nine percent. The Bureau, based on extensive research in mid-2011, claims that at least 385 civilians were among the dead, including more than 160 children. As this shows that the rate of civilian death is also high in drone attacks, the drone technology can be used where militants are present not on the civilian or unknown person, and also drone attacks are a crime against humanity.
We need humanity, more than cleverness, we need kindness, we need all of the human qualities more than the USA defines. The drone programmes of the USA and other countries need to be accompanied by hard facts on civilian deaths. The USA has added black pages to human history by its drone programme, which is dangerous for humankind and human rights.
Drone technology is one of the most important parts of the future of warfare. It is also a threat to liberties around the world. As drone strikes play an important role in new warfare, there should put some limitation as in every successful drone strike on terrorists, innocent people are also killed. Drones have great advantages, and have become necessary for security as they can be used where fighting is difficult or too risky. It is a need of time.
The writer can be reached at [email protected]