Drone strikes have become an ever increasing part of warfare in recent years thanks to the U.S governments, let’s say, ‘liberal’ use of them.
We here every now and then about the success of killing a Taliban leader here, an ISIS associate there, but what rarely gets reported in the media is the horrifc amount of innocent civilians who’s lives are also claimed by these strikes.
Malik Jalal is one of those who has been targeted, on multiple occasions. He came to England this week to politely tell us Westerners to stop bombing him and take him off the U.S. Kill list- sounds like a pretty reasonable request you’d think.
— Jennifer Gibson (@jennifermgibson) April 11, 2016
Malik is from Waziristan – an area between Afghanistan and Pakistan – and he works as one of the community leaders of the North Waziristan Peace Committee (NWPC). Essentially their job is to keep the peace in a region ravaged by the Taliban.
Sanctioned by the Pakistani government, they work with local authorities to ensure the safety of its civilians and prevent violence erupting between the local Taliban and police.
However, the fact they have had to communicate with the Taliban to do this seemed to grab the attention of the U.S., who targeted Malik three times in 2010 and once in 2011. He even said himself that he’s ‘extraordinarily fortunate to be alive’.
Speaking to The Independent, Malik Jalal:
I don’t want to end up a “Bugsplat” – the ugly word that is used for what remains of a human being after being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone. More importantly, I don’t want my family to become victims, or even to live with the droning engines overhead, knowing that at any moment they could be vaporized.Advertisement
The first two times, Malik was aware that the U.S. were targeting vehicles in his area, but was unsure that they were targeting him in particular. But that all changed when they targeted his friends house, killing three people, just moments before he arrived for dinner.
The final strike killed 40 of his fellow elders and civilians- that’s what tipped Malik over the edge:
Like others that day, I said some things I regret. I was angry, and I said we would get our revenge. But, in truth, how would we ever do such a thing? Our true frustration was that we – the elders of our villages – are now powerless to protect our people.
These four strikes killed 51 in total, including his cousin Kalleem and seriously injuring his nephew Salimullah. None of those killed had any ties with terrorist organisations or militant groups whatsoever.
He has since taken to sleeping under trees far away from his home, just so his family aren’t targeted as well.
I know the Americans think me an opponent of their drone wars. They are right; I am. Singling out people to assassinate, and killing nine of our innocent children for each person they target, is a crime of unspeakable proportions. Their policy is as foolish as it is criminal, as it radicalises the very people we are trying to calm down… It is always better to talk than to kill.
He’s not only come to the UK to get himself off the Kill List, Malik also wants people to try to understand that violence is not always the answer to terror.
I have travelled half way across the world because I want to resolve this dispute the way you teach: by using the law and the courts, not guns and explosives. Ask me any question you wish, but judge me fairly – and please stop terrorizing my wife and children. And take me off that Kill List.
After seeing all this you’ve got to wonder, why did our government vote in favour of Syrian airstrikes again?