US Drone Strikes in Afghanistan and its double-standards.

  • On Aug. 29, U.S. Central Command conducted a drone strike in Kabul to avenge the killing of US persons in an attack on Hamid Karzai International Airport by Islamic State by the Khorasan Province (ISIS-K) terrorists.
  • The drone strike killed 10 civilians including children instead because the car of a family was mistaken as belonging to the terrorists.
  • Later, the US has accepted the incident as a “mistake.”
  • Unfortunately, international media did not condemn the killing of innocent civilians as it should have.
  • If it was some other country there would have been condemnations and calls of punishment.
US Drone Stikes in Afghanistan and its double-standards.
US Drone Strikes and its double-standards.

IS-KP had attacked the Kabul airport during the withdrawal of foreigners from Afghanistan. It had killed more than 100 people including 13 US citizens on Aug. 26, according to the Wall Street Journal. President Biden had promised retribution for U.S. deaths. A drone strike by the US on August 29 struck a car in which 10 civilians were killed.

Reliance on Intelligence:

US reliance on intelligence for drone strikes.
US reliance on intelligence for drone strikes.


The failure to clearly identify the target has put the question on the credibility of intelligence and use of armed drones as a policy to target terrorists anywhere in the world especially in Afghanistan. The US troops had a presence in Afghanistan during that drone strike on 29 August yet it had failed to identify the target. Now that the US troops have withdrawn from the country it has become more difficult to gather intelligence. – NewYork Times

Armed Drones And Human Rights.

Armed Drone - Stock Image
Armed Drone – Stock Image

The use of armed drones is against basic human rights like the right to life. Nobody can kill a person without a trial in a court of law. A state is only allowed to take someone’s life if that individual poses an imminent threat to the life of another and if other less-lethal measures cannot be employed to protect life. The current use of armed drones is extremely problematic in this context, as it is hard to establish the standards used to identify those who constitute a legal target. —WILPF

Lack Of Transparency

There is a shocking lack of transparency regarding the standards used to identify those who constitute a legal target as well as the number of civilians killed. The lawfulness of any given drone strike is almost impossible to assess due to the lack of transparency. Lack of transparency hinders accountability and prevention of international law violations.

Not a Big Deal?

The US has casually accepted that the drone strike had illegally killed 10 civilians as if their lives did not matter. It becomes a huge issue in the West if such an incident happens in the developing world. But little condemnation and push back has been observed West on the use of drone strikes. There are clear double standards in the West when it comes to human rights. NewYork Times

Read this too: Corruption fetched Taliban’s Victory, not religion

Civilian deaths in Pakistan.

US Drone Stikes in Pakistan - Stats
US Drone Stikes in Pakistan – Stats

There have been 430 minimum confirmed drone strikes by the US in which 2,515-4,026 were killed including 424-969 civilians and 172-207 children from 2004 till date. The US had stopped using drone strikes in Pakistan after strong pushback and protests by Pakistan.

Civilian deaths In Afghanistan

There have been 13,072 minimum confirmed drone strikes by the US in which 4,126-10,076 were killed in total including 300-909 civilians and 66-184 children during the period 2015-2021. 

According to a new analysis published by the civilian harm monitoring group Airwars, the US drone and airstrikes have killed at least 22,000 civilians- with that number potentially as high as 48,308″- since the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001.


  •  There are double standards on human rights in the West. They held weaker powers accountable for violations of human rights and for themselves, a mere acceptance of the human rights violations of their own is enough.
  • Western powers link economic aid, investment, financial rankings, and political cooperation with the developing countries with the status of human rights and accept just behavior from them.
  • The use of drones has become unreliable and controversial due to a lack of intelligence to distinguish between a legitimate target and an innocent person.
  • The US drone strikes have killed hundreds of innocent civilians in different parts of the world especially in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • The use of drones in which innocent people are killed constitutes a war crime and has continued the use of drones with impunity.
  • The loss of innocent lives in the US drone strikes has generated opposition from civil society but this has little impact on the US policy to continue using drones in the future.
  • It is important that the brutalities of the US drones strikes are highlighted in the media to give a voice to the victim of these strikes.

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