The White House is to disclose the casualties with a range of numbers indicating that roughly 100 civilians have been inadvertently killed by 500 drone strikes since 2009. The estimate is said to cover drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia. It does not cover those in Afghanistan, Iraq or Syria.
President Barack Obama is acknowledging that "civilians have been killed that shouldn't have been" in past U.S. drone strikes, but says the administration is now "very cautious" about taking strikes where women or children are present. Asked at a news conference about an increase in the number of people targeted in several drone strikes against extremist targets in Libya, Syria and Somalia, Obama said the "legal architecture" around the use of drone strikes in the past hasn't been precise. But in the last several years, he says, the administration has worked hard to prevent civilian deaths. He says the U.S. has to take responsibility when it is not acting appropriately. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni security and tribal officials say suspected U.S. drone strikes have killed three alleged al-Qaida operatives in the country's southwestern Bayda province. They say the two Saturday strikes killed Abu Anis al-Abi, an area field commander, and two others. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information. U.S. drone strikes against suspected al-Qaida targets have been commonplace in the years since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington as a retaliatory measure. Saturday's strikes were the first to be reported since Donald Trump assumed office as Barack Obama's successor.
The family of the driver killed in a US drone strike that targeted Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor have registered a case against US officials seeking murder charges. The case, filed by the family of Mohammad Azam who was killed last week along with Mansoor in the Pakistani town of Ahmad Wal near Afghan border, said the father of four was innocent. US officials described the car's driver as a "second male combatant" but according to Pakistani security officials he was a chauffeur named Mohammad Azam who worked for the Al Habib rental company based out of Quetta, the region's main city. "US officials whose name I do not know accepted the responsibility in media for this incident, so I want justice and request legal action against those responsible for it," Mohammad Qasim, Azam's brother said in a police report, a copy of which was seen by the AFP news agency. "My brother was innocent and he was very poor who has left behind four small children and he was the lone bread earner in the family," he added.
Obama's emphasis on drones was met with controversy, particularly following reports in Afghanistan, the tribal areas of Pakistan's northwest region and in Yemen of errant strikes that killed civilians, prompting Obama to turn over responsibility for drone strikes to the military, which under its authorities for war must report them to Congress. It remains unclear whether the CIA needs to or does so for each of its covert drone activities.