Obama defends US drone strikes while Amnesty International questions their legality

Posted on January 31, 2012

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US President Barack Obama has defended the use of unmanned drone aircraft to kill suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

In unusually candid remarks, Mr Obama said the strikes targeted “people who are on a list of active terrorists”.

Pakistan says drone raids violate its sovereignty, although it is believed to have given them its tacit support.

The US does not routinely speak publicly about drone operations, which have killed hundreds in recent years.

The dead include senior al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, as well as an unknown number of other militants and civilians.

Establishing precise casualty figures and identifying the dead in such attacks is virtually impossible as independent media are barred from tribal areas near the Afghan border.

Rights group Amnesty International questioned the legality of drone strikes.

BBC

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