Its been pointed out to me (thanks CW) that when in Afghanistan last month David Cameron said that more than 124 insurgents had been killed by British drones over the past 29 months. This was something of a surprise as until now no information has been released about British drone casualties. I wondered if the Telegraph reporter had been confused but today an MoD press officer confirmed the figure to me.
Despite having these bald figures there are still many questions to be answered about how British drones operate in Afghanistan. Were any of those killed by drones the victims of ‘targeting killing’? Does the MoD know the identity of the ‘more than 124 insurgents’ ? Have there been civilians killed by drones or are victims deemed to have been insurgents because they have been killed?
I have applied to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) under the Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) for further information but am not holding my breath. My last FoI request (Nov 2009) on drones was refused as it was “likely to prejudice the defence of the British Island” and is still trundling through appeals procedures…..
Request for information about victims of British UAV attacks under FoIA
On 7th December 2010 while in Afghanistan the Prime Minister stated that more than 124 insurgents had been killed by UK Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over the 29 months they had been in operation. This figure was confirmed to me as being correct at that date (7th December) by a Ministry of Defence press officer on 11th January 2011.
I would like to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for information about the circumstances of the killing of these individuals.
In addition I would like to ask whether all those killed by British UAVs were directly participating in hostilities at the time they were killed and how many of the identities of those, identified by the Prime Minister as insurgents, are known to the MoD?
Finally can you confirm whether any other individuals, not classified as insurgents, have been killed by British UAVs?