The Guardian reports that, according to the United Nations, ‘an international drone’ (which only the US military operate) has killed at least 15 civilians and injured another 13 in the eastern district of Achin, Afghanistan. The US has not admitted any wrongdoing but said the incident was under investigation.
Bilal, 12 recovers in hospital after surviving a US drone strike that killed his father. Photo: Andrew Quilty
Earlier this year, Britain signed a £415 million contract with the Pentagon for 20 new ‘Protector’ drones. Described as a ‘signature counter-terrorism weapon’, drones have proved tactically effective in the fight against IS in Iraq and Syria where the RAF’s Reaper drones have flown hundreds of sorties.
Strategically the increasing reliance on drones is less certain. In 2009, General Stanley McChrystal observed that ‘Destroying a home or property jeopardises the livelihood of an entire family – and creates more insurgents’. Multiply this ten fold or a hundred fold when drones kill innocent civilians.
Although the new drone will carry a greater payload of deadly Hellfire missiles, UK Defence Chiefs decided to drop the name Reaper in favour of Protector in an attempt to change public perceptions that they are unaccountable killing machines.
Try explaining that to the citizens of Achin.
SPIN ZHIRA: Old Man in Helmand is the unauthorised, unvarnished and irreverent story of one man’s midlife crisis on the front line of the most dangerous district in Afghanistan where the locals haven’t forgiven the British for the occupation of 1842 or for the Russian Invasion of 1979. Of course, all infidels look the same so you can’t really tell them apart.
A JOURNEY OF LOVE, SERVICE AND ADVENTURE. EXCELLENT!
A MODERN WARFARE LITERARY CLASSIC! OUTSTANDING READ.
ENTERTAINING, THOUGHT-PROVOKING AND COMPULSORY TO READ.