08:18 GMT +323 January 2020
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    Yemen remains a counterterrorism partner of the United States despite ongoing criticism of the controversial US drone strike program, Yemeni Ambassador to the United States Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak told Sputnik on Thursday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik), Leandra Bernstein — Earlier in the day, the Intercept revealed the shortcomings of the US lethal drone program. According to a classified Pentagon study, Yemen was among the countries the United States worked with in carrying out targeted killings outside of warzones.

    "Still, there is ongoing discussion about this program. There is a lot of criticism from some of the [activists], but our position as a government is clear," Mubarak stated, adding that Yemen is a "partner with the United States in counterterrorism."

    While the Yemeni ambassador would not comment specifically on whether the two governments were coordinating the drone strikes, he said counterterrorism "is the general umbrella" of the relationship.

    According to the Intercept's reports, between 2011 and 2013, the US military faced "critical shortfalls" in the technology and intelligence it uses to find and kill suspected terrorists in Yemen.

    The poor intelligence led to low rates of successful drone strikes in the country, according to the Pentagon report.

    The drone killing programs under the Pentagon's Joint Special Operations Command and the Central Intelligence Agency have remained classified up until the release of the Intercept reports.

    Data collected by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism shows that US drone strikes have killed up to 1,000 civilians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen over the past 10 years.

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    drones, United States, Yemen
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