The U.K.'s UAV War


While there has been a lot of attention on the U.S. drone strike program in Pakistan and other countries, much less is known about the Royal Air Force's Reaper activity.

But in answers to parliamentary questions, the U.K. Defense Ministry has shed a little light on what has been going on. In the three years up to June 19, 2012, the U.K. Reaper force carried out 176 strikes, Nick Harvey, armed forces minister, tells Parliament.

Asked about civilian casualties incurred in those strikes, Harvey notes that “I am aware of only one incident where individuals not classified as insurgents were killed by a U.K. Reaper UAV. The incident took place on 25 March 2011 and resulted in the death of four civilians in addition to two insurgents.”

The incident was investigated by the International Security Assistance Force, and Harvey says it determined “the Reaper crew had been in accordance with ISAF procedures and rules of engagement.” He would not release the report, citing security considerations.

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