“Over the Horizon” Operations: The Future of Drone Strikes
WATCH VIDEO OF THE EVENT BELOW
Extraordinary reporting by The New York Times in September revealed that a U.S. drone strike in Kabul during the U.S. evacuation killed 10 Afghan civilians — including 7 children. The alleged ISIS-K target turned out to be an Afghan employee of an American aid organization who was observed delivering water jugs, not petrol bombs. After a staunch denial, the Pentagon finally admitted that the strike was a “tragic mistake” and said it is now reviewing its policies and procedures around drones.
The U.S. military has conducted at least 91,340 airstrikes over the last two decades, as open-ended authorizations for the use of military force provided a blank check, and drones became America’s preferred weapon against alleged terrorists in Pakistan, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the greater Middle East. Unlike the botched strike in Kabul, most of these take place without scrutiny of the official claims about who was actually killed. These deadly strikes traumatize entire populations and frequently drive terrorist propaganda and recruitment.
With the withdrawal from Afghanistan, President Biden has declared “endless war” over, but Washington appears determined to continue “over-the-horizon” airstrikes in Afghanistan and beyond. Join Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, ACLU national security director Hina Shamsi, and Annie Shiel, senior advisor at the Center for Civilians in Conflict, for a panel that explores the human and strategic costs of Washington’s reliance on drone strikes and explores when, if ever, they should be used. Quincy Institute Research Fellow Adam Weinstein will moderate.