Particularly affected are young children who are said to be unable to sleep at night and cry due to the noise. Some children have lost their lives with the impact of the drone missile strikes in their neighbourhoods. Local doctors have declared many adults mentally unfit due to the effect drones have had on them, with the details of the disorders unknown due to lack of, firstly, awareness of mental health and, secondly, expert psychiatrists and psychologists in the area.
Heartrending facts. Furthermore:
Drone attacks have changed the social structure in NWA as well. Firstly, community life has been brought to a minimal level as people avoid getting together in groups, because drones are believed to more likely target groups of people collected together. Funerals of those killed in drone attacks are attended by a small number of people, because drones have targeted funerals in the past, such as the June 23, 2009 attack at a funeral in Mateen, SWA, near the NWA border town of Razmak. Similarly, people have stopped frequenting each others’ houses as guests, fracturing the principle of milmastiya (hospitality) where a Pakhtun is to treat guests well and keep them happy under pakhtunwali (the Pakhtun code of life). Even peace jirgas with respected tribal heads in attendance have been targeted by drones, such as the strike on the jirga to solve a chromite dispute that was struck by two missiles from drones on March 17, 2011 in Datta Khel, NWA, killing around 40, mostly tribal elders.
Schools and children have been attacked by drones.
[The] frail state of education has deteriorated further due to drone attacks and merits special consideration, keeping in mind the obvious importance of education. Parents are increasingly reluctant to send their children to schools due to the uncertainty about the targets of drone missiles, and instances of moving cars and motorbikes having been hit by missiles from drones, such as in the case of 16-year-old Tariq, killed in a drone strike on October 31, 2011. Moreover, a drone strike on December 31, 2009 killed Asif Iqbal, who had returned to his village to teach English at a girls school in Dattakhel, NWA, after earning a Masters degree from the National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad, and Zainullah, an employee at a girls’ school in Mir Ali, NWA. Furthermore, many children have been injured in drone strikes. A 17-year-old, who lost both his legs in a drone strike when 15, talked about how he cannot go to school anymore as he has difficulty walking, and how he wishes to play football like he used to but now is only left to watch his friends play.
The economic repercussion:
Four chromite miners were killed on October 30, 2011, as they were on their way to earn a living for their families. This and other such cases have increased fears amongst the locals of being targeted while at work. Secondly, the medical costs for treating the injured is very high as all the injured have to be transported hundreds of kilometers away to Bannu, and in most cases, even further to Peshawar, as local hospitals are underequipped and only good for first aid. Because income levels are very low in the region, families are mostly forced to take loans from friends and family to cover the medical expenses of the injured, loans of up to Rs 600,000, an amount that takes a lifetime for them to pay back.
To the people who constantly attempt to justify drone strikes, I only have one question: How would you feel if you were under the constant radar of a drone?