Entries in Drone Strikes (3)


US Flew More Drone Missions in Afghanistan in 2012 than Ever Before

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the U.S. military began pulling back on the ground in Afghanistan in 2012, it greatly upped the number of drone strikes.

The United Nations reported on Tuesday that more than 500 weapons were fired from unmanned drones last year, compared to fewer than 300 in 2011.

Unlike Pakistan where leaders have said that drone attacks on suspected Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists violate its national sovereignty, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has been largely silent on the issue.

For the most part, the drone strikes are intended to back up American ground forces as they conduct operations in Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, the use of drones has enabled U.S. soldiers to step back from their front-line roles and allow Afghan national forces to assume more security responsibilities.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Yemen Says US Ramping Up Drone Strikes

JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images(SANAA, Yemen) -- U.S. drone strikes against terrorist targets in Yemen have been on the increase since late last year, with reports this week of more targeted attacks on suspected militants.

On Wednesday, at least seven al-Qaeda-linked militants were reportedly killed when their car was struck by rockets fired from an unmanned drone about 20 miles southeast of the capital of Sanaa, according to Yemeni officials.

This follows a reported strike on Tuesday that left as many as five suspected terrorists dead.

While the Pentagon does not comment on drone attacks, Yemen's Human Rights Minister Hooria Mashhour recently condemned the action by his government's ally, saying there were more effective ways of stopping al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The Obama administration has conducted the drone strikes in Yemen with the implicit approval of both former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his successor, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Jimmy Carter Accuses US of ‘Widespread Abuse of Human Rights’

Gary Miller/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- A former U.S. president is accusing the current president of sanctioning the “widespread abuse of human rights” by authorizing drone strikes to kill suspected terrorists.

Jimmy Carter, America’s 39th president, denounced the Obama administration for “clearly violating” 10 of the 30 articles of  the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, writing in a New York Times op-ed on Monday that the “United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.”

“Instead of making the world safer, America’s violation of international human rights abets our enemies and alienates our friends,” Carter wrote.

While the total number of attacks from unmanned aircraft, or drones, and the resulting casualties are murky, the New America Foundation estimates that in Pakistan alone 265 drone strikes have been executed since January 2009. Those strikes have killed at least 1,488 people, at least 1,343 of them considered militants, the foundation estimates based on news reports and other sources.

In addition to the drone strikes, Carter criticized the current president for keeping the Guantanamo Bay detention center open, where prisoners “have been tortured by waterboarding more than 100 times or intimidated with semiautomatic weapons, power drills or threats to sexually assault their mothers.”

The former president blasted the government for allowing “unprecedented violations of our rights to privacy through warrantless wiretapping and government mining of our electronic communications.”

He also condemned recent legislation that gives the president the power to detain suspected terrorists indefinitely, although a federal judge blocked the law from taking effect for any suspects not affiliated with the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“This law violates the right to freedom of expression and to be presumed innocent until proved guilty, two other rights enshrined in the declaration,” Carter said.

While Carter never mentioned Obama by name, he called out “our government” and “the highest authorities in Washington,” and urged “concerned citizens” to “persuade Washington to reverse course and regain moral leadership.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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