On Tuesday, five lawmakers showed up to hear a 9-year-old survivor's story of living through a drone strike that killed her grandmother, the town's midwife, in Pakistan according to the Washington Post. Nabila ur Rehman, her brother 13-year-old Zubair and their father, Rafiq ur Rehman appeared before the lawmakers to convince them of the toll drone strikes have taken.
This marks the first time that Congress has heard from any survivors of attacks from drones that allegedly belong to the U.S. Representative Alan Grayson of Florida, who organized the hearing, was one of the five members present.
The family stated that though none of them were militants, the drone hovering near a field attacked them anyway. The attack on Oct. 24 of last year killed Mamana Bibi, the children's grandmother, and injured eight of Bibi's grandchildren. Nabila suffered a hand injury due to shrapnel and 13-year-old Zubair needed two operations on his leg as a result of the attack. Amnesty International hasn't found any reason the attack of Hellfire missiles would have been justified.
Through a translator, Zubair said, "Congressman Grayson, I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer gray skies. The drones do not fly when the skies are gray."
The New America Foundation has reported that 365 strikes in Pakistan have resulted in the deaths of 1,600 to 2,700 militants and 258 to 307 civilians since 2005. Initially, the claim was that no civilians had been killed.
Today a report issued by the Pakistani government states that 137 drone strikes have only killed 67 civilians and 2,160 Islamic militants since 2008. The report issued by the Associated Press on the matter notes that this number varies greatly from previous reports, which put the number closer to 400 civilian lives lost.
It would appear the numbers have not been tracked as closely as they should be, a sentiment reflected by the Rafiq, who issued an open letter to Barack Obama last week. In the letter he states,
”No one ever asked us who was killed or injured that day. Not the United States or my own government. Nobody has come to investigate nor has anyone been held accountable.”
He also states that reports of the drone strike indicate that five militants were killed in the attack, though he says the only person killed was his mother.