Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, an independent news organisation based at City University, London, has found that only 12% of victims of US drone strikes in Pakistan could be identified as militants.
In a report, released by the organisation on Thursday, researchers also found that fewer than 4% of those killed have been identified as members of al Qaeda.
The report said that out of the 2,379 known victims of drone strikes between June 2004 and October 2014, 704 have been identified. Only 295 of these were reported to be members of some kind of armed group.
The report alleges that of those there were “few corroborating details” to account for those who were solely listed as “militants”. More than a third of them were not designated a rank within their militant organisation, and almost 30% were not even linked to a specific group.
Only 84 of those designated as militants could be identified as members of al Qaeda, less than 4% of the total number of people killed.
The Bureau’s findings appear to contradict remarks made by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, who claimed last year that American drone strikes only targeted “confirmed terrorist targets at the highest level”.
"No labels" rhetoric isolates people from their community, history and culture. It keeps people from being able to articulate themselves and ask for what they need. It promotes a false sense of unity that only serves to further the dominant classes in society. It is a lazy way of getting out of understanding and digesting complex issues. I dislike this rhetoric and approach.