WASHINGTON -- A Pakistani schoolteacher and his two children have become the first survivors of a U.S. drone strike to testify in Congress.
Rafiq Rehman, whose mother was killed in an October 2012 drone attack in Pakistan, testified along with his two children, Nabila and Zubair, who were among those injured in the attack in the North Waziristan region.
Rehman said he is still seeking answers about his 67-year-old mother’s death.
"No one has told me why my mother was killed on that day," he said through a translator on October 29.
In her testimony at a congressional briefing organized by Representative Alan Grayson (Democrat-Florida), Nabila, 9, recalled the moments immediately following the drone strike.
"Everything was dark and I couldn't see anything, but I heard a scream. I don't know if it was my grandmother... I couldn't see her," she said. "I was very scared, and all I could think of doing was just [to] run. I kept running, but I felt something in my hand. And I looked to my hand and there was blood. I tried to bandage my hand, but the blood kept coming. The blood wouldn't stop."
The United States has defended the use of drone strikes as a key weapon against terrorist groups.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week that the administration is reviewing reports of civilian deaths caused by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen.
On October 30, the Pakistani government said that 3 percent of the people killed in U.S. drone strikes in the country since 2008 had been civilians.
Pakistan's Defense Ministry provided the information in a written response to questions from the U.S. Senate.
Specifically, it said that 317 attacks had killed 2,160 Islamic militants and 67 civilians since 2008.
The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism estimates that at least 300 civilians have been killed by drones in Pakistan since 2008.
The Washington-based New America Foundation put the figure at 185 civilians.