The US’ “inhumane” use of drone strikes to target terrorists kills prospects for peace in Afghanistan, which in turn undermines security in Pakistan, as people in border regions become radicalized, prominent Pakistani opposition figure Imran Khan told RT.
In an exclusive interview, Khan explained that he did “more than any other Pakistani” to put an end to US drone strikes, as they are carried out in “total violation of human rights.”
Khan organized massive rallies attracting over 200,000 people, talked to US Secretary of State John Kerry, and even arranged a blockade of supplies to NATO forces in his fight against the killer drones.
The use of drones are “inhuman tactics of killing people through remote control, like on a computer game… dehumanizing them, treating them like they’re from some other planet… not giving them basic rights or proving their innocence,” he said.
The US military’s claims that it has enough intelligence data to target only terrorists are nothing but “propaganda,” the politician stressed.
Khan said he can’t understand how the Americans can “think that a bomb when it bursts, when it splinters that the shrapnel knows exactly, who is a terrorist and who is a woman; who is a child; who is a grandmother.”
He stressed that drone missions are carried out in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where people live in fragile mud houses providing little protection.
“There are so many incidents of people being killed, who had nothing to do with terrorism… They [the US] claim they killed a terrorist and then you see that they are alive, so who have they killed?” the politician wondered.
If drone strikes are as effective as the Pentagon and CIA say, “there should be no terrorism now,” he added.
The use drones for extra-judicial killings is “counter-productive” in fighting terrorism, as it creates “anti-Americanism that directly feeds into recruiting terrorists,” Khan stressed.
“The collateral damage of drone attacks turns normal human beings into terrorists, into human bombs, people go and blow themselves up,” he added.
Khan recalled a tragic incident involving the family of a young Pakistani student and cricket player at a technical college he founded in Mianwali, Punjab.
“He [the young man] was in his final year of electrical engineering and suddenly he finds out that in his family compound in Waziristan [region of Pakistan] there was an airstrike and his family was killed. And then he disappears; he goes back, obviously, to where his family was killed. And six months later we find out that he had blown himself up in Afghanistan on a NATO convoy,” he said.
The news was especially poignant for the politician, as he is also a famous former captain of Pakistan’s cricket team.
The Pakistani people do not want drone strikes – they want the war to stop in neighboring Afghanistan, the politician said.
“What we hope is that there is a settlement; there’s peace in Afghanistan because Pakistan is affected by what happens in Afghanistan,” he said, adding that drones are an obstacle to peace.
Khan also slammed Pakistan’s current authorities for doing nothing to stop US drone strikes while refusing to reveal the number of resultant civilian casualties.
“We have people ruling Pakistan, who are shameless. They have no dignity, no self-respect. They do not care what happens to Pakistani people. All they care about is the USAID. All they see is dollars and if you pay them enough dollars they are willing to allow Americans to bomb their own country,” he said.
President Barack Obama admitted in April that there is “no doubt” innocent civilians had died in US drone strikes worldwide, despite intelligence on targets being “checked, double-checked, triple-checked.”
CIA drones strikes have killed nearly 2,400 people in Pakistan alone since 2004, according to a report from the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
Despite US claims that it just hits only “confirmed terrorist targets,” only 84 of the victims have been found to be Al-Qaeda members.
RT Documentary channel is currently working on a documentary about the US’ killer drone operations. Watch it on RT Doc when it comes out.