The pursuit of terrorist groups and the elimination of any Al Qaida-related activity or insurgents is justifiable, but the loss of innocent lives to achieve that goal is not. Many have died in such situations due to the operational methods employed in eliminating militants.

The US has made it a policy to use drones in various countries in its pursuit of individuals accused of terrorism. This has also been evident in Yemen. Although drone strikes have achieved the desired objectives successfully in some cases — they have also been criticised for the disregard to civilian lives in the process. A total of 13 civilians have been killed, including women, in a suspected drone attack on Tuesday. There have been protests in Yemen over the deaths in the latest strike. Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has ordered an investigation into the incident as the attack’s target was an active Al Qaida member.

It is obvious that the fight against Al Qaida is important as Yemen should not be a base for such terrorist groups. But given the fact that such a fight is long-term and would require coordinated efforts by the authorities, ensuring the safety of civilians is a must. This is the responsibility of the US. Otherwise, the rise in the civilian death toll will lead to further unrest and defeat the purpose of the war on Al Qaida.