Wednesday, July 20, 2011

American Drone War in Pakistan

Photos from the Ground Show Civilian Casualties

By Hasnain Kazim, Spiegel Online, July 18, 2011

Photo Gallery: The Victims of the Drone War
Noor Behram

In the US, remote-controlled drones are considered great tools in the war on terror. For years Washington has sent these high-tech weapons into western Pakistan, lauding their precision. But a local journalist says he has photographic evidence that civilians are often the victims.

Noor Behram remembers why he started on his mission to photograph the scenes of drone attacks in Pakistan. The reason was 12 dead people — an entire family extinguished in what was officially a US attack on militants. But the 39-year-old, who works for Arabic language news network Al Jazeera, had sources in Waziristan who told him the official story was only half of the truth.

He climbed in his car and travelled from his home in Miranshah to Shawal, the location of the bombing, and he saw something that remains burned into his mind: charred body parts and shredded clothes, hanging from the trees.

“In actuality an American helicopter had attacked a hotel where insurgents were allegedly hiding out,” Behram said. “A family that lived on a neighboring slope heard the noise and watched the incident down in the valley. In this moment a US fighter jet roared over and shot a rocket at their home. Eight women and girls, along with four men, died.”

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