October 18, 2013 - 18:31 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The United Nations has called on the U.S. to reveal the number of civilian casualties it believes have been caused by drone strikes targeting Islamic militants in various countries, according to the Associated Press.
The UN says that preliminary information gathered for a report released Friday, Oct 18, indicated that more than 450 civilians may have been killed in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. It says more work needs to be done to confirm these figures.
The report, which was written by UN Special Rapporteur Ben Emmerson, says the U.S. and other countries that use drones have an obligation to investigate reported civilian casualties and clarify their legal justifications for the attacks.
The U.S. provides very little public information about its drone program, especially in Pakistan and Yemen, where the CIA is involved in the attacks.
U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have fallen significantly over the past two and a half years, totaling 20 this year. There were 48 in all of 2012 and 73 in 2011, according to a tally kept by the New America Foundation.
It is hard to check their impact on both militants and civilians because independent observers and journalists have almost no access to the areas where most of the strikes occur.
The United States government has made hundreds of attacks on targets in northwest Pakistan since 2004, using drones. Most of these attacks are on targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas along the Afghan border in Northwest Pakistan. These strikes were begun by President George W. Bush and have increased substantially under President Barack Obama. Until very recently, the U.S. had officially denied the extent of its policy; in May 2013 it acknowledged for the first time that U.S. citizens had been killed in the strikes. Surveys have shown that the strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan.