Britain’s use of armed drones sparks protest
KABUL (PAN): Condemning Britain's use of armed drones in Afghanistan, hundreds of anti-war campaigners on Saturday gathered outside a military base that began hosting the aircraft's human operators for the first time this week.
About 400 peace activists marched from Lincoln to a rally at the Royal Air Force base in Lincolnshire to protest what they called "obscenity" of armed drones being used to conduct unmanned missions in the war-torn country.
On Thursday, the RAF said it had started supporting the International Security Assistance Force and Afghan ground troops with armed intelligence and surveillance missions remotely piloted from RAF Waddington.
Previously, The Telegraph reported, RAF pilots had been using Reaper aircraft in support of the British troops deployed to Afghanistan remotely from a base in the United States.
In reaction to the relocation of operations, Stop the War Coalition said: "Drones are indiscriminate weapons of war that have been responsible for thousands of civilian deaths."
A statement from the coalition demanded: "Rather than expanding the UK's arsenal, drones should be banned, just as landmines and cluster munitions were banned."
Apart from Stop the War Coalition, Drone Campaign Network and War on Want members also participated in the mass rally outside RAF Waddington.
War on Want campaigner Rafeef Ziadah said: "Drones, controlled far away from conflict zones, ease politicians' decisions to launch military strikes and order extrajudicial assassinations, without democratic oversight or accountability to the public. Now is the time to ban killer drones – before it is too late."
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