Islamabad: Pakistan army has admitted that
most of those killed in the CIA-operated drone strikes in
northwest Pakistan were "hardcore Al Qaeda and Taliban
terrorists" notwithstanding the government`s public posture
that such attacks were causing civilian deaths.
In a rare public briefing on the attacks by pilotless
aircraft in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, the
Pakistan Army a fairly large number of those killed were of
foreign origin including Arabs and Uzbeks.
Maj Gen Ghayur Mehmood, General Officer Commanding of
the 7 Division, presented the Pakistan Army`s official
version of the US drone attacks for the first time during a
briefing held at Miranshah, the main town of the restive North
Waziristan tribal region, yesterday.
"Myths and rumours about US Predator strikes and the
casualty figures are many, but it`s a reality that many of
those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a
sizeable number of them foreigners," Mehmood was quoted as
saying by Dawn newspaper.
"Yes, there are a few civilian casualties in such
precision strikes but a majority of those eliminated are
terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements."
An official paper on the drone attacks conducted till
Monday said over 964 terrorists had been killed in about 164
missile strikes carried out during 2007-2011.
Those killed included 793 local tribesmen and 171
foreigners, including Arabs, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Chechens,
Filipinos and Moroccans.
While in 2007, only a single militant was killed in the
drone strike, the figures have zoomed to more than 423
terrorists in 2010, which marked the deadliest period.
In 2008, 23 drone strikes killed 152 militants, of
whom 12 were foreigners or affiliated with Al Qaeda.
In 2009, around 20 drone strikes killed 179 militants,
including 20 foreigners, and in the following year, 423
militants, including 133 foreigners, were killed in 103
In attacks till March 7 this year, 39 militants,
including five foreigners, were killed.