US lawmaker urges Obama admin to reconsider drone policy in Pakistan
Islamabad, Jan. 15 : A US Congressman has questioned the Obama administration''s drone strike policy, saying that America''s technological capability has far surpassed the country''s policy.
Keith Ellison, the only Muslim member of the US Congress, is a Democrat from Minnesota and has been a member of the House of Representatives since January 2007, reports The Dawn.
Ellison, in a piece he wrote in Monday''s Washington Post, said that US drones reportedly killed eight people in rural Pakistan last week, bringing the estimated death toll from drone strikes in Pakistan this year to 35.
According to Ellison, as the frequency of drone strikes spikes again, the US has to provide answers to questions like: How many of those targeted were terrorists? Were any children harmed? And what is the standard of evidence to carry out these attacks?
While Obama should be commended for creating explicit rules for the use of drones, "unilateral kill lists are unseemly and fraught with hazards", he added.
The congressman acknowledged that the drones have produced results - eliminating 22 of Al-Qaeda''s top 30 leaders and just last week killed a Taliban leader.
The drones have also lessened the need to send American troops to a war zone, reducing the number of US casualties.
But he urged US policy-makers not to ignore the costs of these strikes.
Ellison said that a recent study by human rights experts at Stanford Law School and the New York University School of Law found that the number of innocent civilians killed by US drone strikes is much higher than what the US government has reported - approximately 700 since 2004, including almost 200 children. He called it "unacceptable". (ANI)