Leaked documents raise new questions over UK complicity in secret US drone strikes

December 29, 2014

Image of a drone flying

December 29, 2014

Previously secret documents obtained by Der Spiegel – including a ‘Kill List’ that included both Pakistani and Afghan targets – have raised new concerns about British complicity in the US’s covert drone war in Pakistan.

The documents, detailed in an article published yesterday evening, show that NATO and British forces in Afghanistan planned to target and kill individuals that were located across the border in Pakistan. The UK government has consistently denied that it has taken strikes outside of Afghanistan and has refused to confirm whether and to what extent it is involved in the CIA’s covert drone war in Pakistan.

Other documents reportedly show that those included on the ‘kill list’ were limited not just to key Al Qaeda leaders, but extended to hundreds of other individuals. In some instances, nothing more than a cell phone intercept was need to initiate a strike.  The list also targeted alleged drug dealers, the inclusion of whom potentially constitutes a violation of international law.

Commenting, Jennifer Gibson, Staff Attorney at human rights NGO Reprieve, said: ‘Today’s revelations offer the most damning evidence to date of UK complicity in the covert drone war in Pakistan. The UK can no longer dodge questions by claiming the drone wars in Pakistan are a ‘matter for the states involved.’ These documents clearly show the UK is one of those states. The UK now needs to come clean about its role in executing a ‘kill list’ that goes far beyond targeting only militant leaders.”