Two boys aged 12 and 16 years old were reportedly killed in a CIA drone strike in Pakistan on Monday night. One of the boys, Tariq Khan, had attended an anti-drone rally in the Pakistan capital just days beforehand.
Monday’s deadly attack struck a vehicle near the town of Mir Ali in Waziristan. Up to four people died, including 16-year old Tariq Khan and his 12-year old cousin Wahid.
It was the second attack in as many days in which civilians have been reported killed. On Sunday four chromite miners are believed to have died as they traveled to work in Waziristan. The US has been insisting that it has killed no civilians since May 2010.
The Bureau’s own data shows that between 111 and 281 civilians have been reported by credible media as being killed in US drone strikes between May 1 2010 and Monday’s attack. Sixteen of those killed were reportedly children, including Tariq and Wahid.
The death of the two boys on Monday takes to 175 overall the number of children reported killed in US drone strikes since 2004.
Days before his death on Monday 16 year old Tariq Khan had traveled to Islamabad to protest against US drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas. He attended a jirga, or tribal meeting, organised to protest the attacks by UK legal charity Reprieve and its Pakistani partners.
The Bureau’s Pratap Chatterjee was at the gathering and photographed the participants: ‘It’s profoundly shocking that a teenage boy who had travelled to protest these drones should be killed by them just days later. Despite the Bureau’s evidence to the contrary, the US continues to deny that it is killing civilians in Pakistan. Whether it will continue to do so remains to be seen. ‘
Shahzad Akbar is a Pakistani lawyer engaged in a number of lawsuits on behalf of clients injured in CIA drone attacks. Speaking to the Bureau from Islamabad, he recalled meeting Tariq last week: ‘He was one of the potential camera trainees we hoped would film the activity of drones in Waziristan. He was young and very enthusiastic.’
Shahzad described the two most recent drone attacks as ‘completely meaningless.’
Clive Stafford-Smith of Reprieve said of the deaths: ‘Could you ever have clearer proof against the line that the US is not killing ‘non-combatants’, with the death of a 16-year old boy I just met, and his 12-year old cousin?’
When asked whether it still maintained that it has killed no civilians since May 2010, the CIA declined to comment.
This article was originally published on Two boys reported killed in CIA strike