As previously reported at the end of 2012, the U.S. military runs an extensive drone program in Afghanistan.
A recently released UN report confirms that 2012 was indeed a big year for drone strikes in the country, and perhaps represents an early indication of what “counter terrorism” will look like after American troops withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.
The UN mission in Afghanistan (Unama) said 506 weapons were released by drones in 2012, compared with 294 the previous year. Five incidents resulted in casualties with 16 civilians killed and three wounded, up from just one incident in 2011.
The US air force central command also recorded an increase, giving the numbers of weapons released by drones as 243 in 2009, 277 in 2010, 294 in 2011 and 494 in 2012.
The U.N. figures were released as part of its annual report on civilian casualties in Afghanistan. Overall, the full-year toll of civilian deaths in 2012 declined to 2,754, a 12 percent decrease from 3,131 in the same period a year earlier. It was the first time in six years that the civilian death toll dropped.