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UN expert says drone use, deadly attacks down in Pakistan, on the rise in Afghanistan, Yemen

The U.N.'s special investigator on counterterrorism says the number of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan plunged last year amid growing care to avoid civilian deaths.

Ben Emmerson says for the first time in nine years that no civilians were reported killed in 2013 in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Regions, which borders Afghanistan.

The U.N. special rapporteur, who reports to the 47-nation Human Rights Council, told reporters Wednesday in Geneva there has been a "significant de-escalation" of U.S. drone use in Pakistan, down to 27 strikes last year from 128 in 2010, but drone strikes are intensifying in use in Afghanistan and Yemen.

He said the U.S. military reduced drone attacks against militants in Pakistan and limited strikes to high-value targets in response to the country's growing criticism of the program.