How many people have drones killed?

Trump keeps the number of drone deaths a secret

US President Donald Trump has abolished a regulation that requires the CIA to disclose the number of civilian deaths from drone attacks. At the time, his predecessor Barack Obama had obliged the national secret service director, and thus the CIA, which is under his control, to present the public with an annual balance sheet on drone attacks against "terrorist targets" outside of war zones. This included figures on the civilian casualties from these attacks.

The decision was preceded by strong criticism of the increase in US drone attacks and the lack of transparency about these operations. Obama had massively expanded the attacks with the unmanned aircraft, including in the Afghan-Pakistani border area.

The current cancellation of his order could result in material information about many of these attacks remaining hidden from the public. Trump's decision only affects drone attacks carried out by the CIA. The US Department of Defense is still obliged by congressional guidelines to provide information on all civilian casualties caused by US military operations.

Doubts about the number of victims

The White House announced in 2016 that more than 2,000 people had been killed by drone strikes, including 64 to 116 civilians. Activists assume that the number of unreported cases is likely to be much higher. The Trump administration took "an unnecessary and dangerous step backwards" with regard to the transparency of these operations with this decision, criticized the human rights organization Human Rights First.

bag / sti (dpa, afp, rtr)