The BBC has reported that Foreign Secretary William Hague is facing legal action over the alleged use of UK intelligence to assist US drone strikes in Pakistan by the British son of a man who was killed in such a strike.
From the BBC:
“Human rights lawyers are to sue Foreign Secretary William Hague over the alleged use of intelligence in assisting US drone attacks in Pakistan.
“The case is being raised at the High Court in London on behalf of Noor Khan, whose father was killed in a US strike.
“Lawyers from Leigh Day and Co say civilian intelligence officers who give information to the US may be liable as "secondary parties to murder".
“The Foreign Office said it did not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.
“The lawyers, which include some from the international charity Reprieve, want to establish what official UK policy or guidance is with regard to assisting the US in such cases.
“Leigh Day and Co says Mr Khan's father Malik Daud was part of a council of elders holding a meeting in the tribal areas of northwest Pakistan, when a drone missile hit the group.
“The firm said it had "credible, unchallenged" evidence Mr Hague oversaw a policy of passing British intelligence to US forces planning attacks against militants.”
The news of legal action comes at a turbulent time for the UK and US in the region. Yesterday, an American soldier in Afghanistan went on a deadly ‘killing spree’ murdering 16 Afghan civilians, including nine children.
The Guardian states that “The killings in the early hours of Sunday morning are likely to fuel more anger across Afghanistan and raise questions in Kabul and the US about the future of an increasingly unpopular war.”
The fatal incident follows a number of recent events, including the Qur’an burning at a US military base in Bagram which led to deadly protests. The cumulative impact of such incidents on the trust Afghans display towards NATO forces and is reflected upon by Richard Falk, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.
Falk writes in Al Jazeera, “It is not an exaggeration to say that such displays of disrespect for the Quran are more serious setbacks than dramatic defeats on the battlefield. Why? Because it so clearly discredits the US claim to be a humanitarian benefactor by its presence in Afghanistan.
“The failure of the United States government even now to appreciate the seriousness of what has happened, despite several earlier intimations of the great popular significance attached to any show of disrespect towards Islam throughout the Muslim world, is monumentally discrediting to its claims of benevolence - and undermines its goal of quelling the global threat of anti-Western terrorism.”
Kim Sengupta in the Independent states that both incidents “are an immense propaganda boost to the insurgents and add to the alienation of the population, many of whom are susceptible to conspiracy theories of foreign forces secretly engineering these treacherous acts.”
As the UK and US progress on plans to withdraw wholly from Afghanistan, recent events leave open to question the lasting legacy of NATO’s foray in Afghanistan and the lessons learnt after more than a decade of the “war on terror”.
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