War & Peace
Up to 40 Pakistani Civilians Killed in U.S. Drone Attack
As many as 40 Pakistani civilians were killed in a CIA drone strike against suspected Islamic militants in North Waziristan. According to the BBC, most of the victims were probably civilians attending a tribal meeting near the regional capital, Miranshah. Although the area is an al-Qaeda and Taliban stronghold, most of the dead were tribal elders, local traders and members of the tribal police. They were meeting at a jirga to resolve a local land dispute over ownership of a mine when two unmanned aerial drones fired missiles at a car carrying suspected terrorists and at the jirga itself. It was the deadliest drone attack for civilians since 2006.
According to the Long War Journal, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, issued a rare condemnation of the American attack against civilians. “Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, strongly condemns the Predator Strike carried out today in North Waziristan Agency resulting into loss of innocent lives,” the statement said. “It is highly regrettable that a jirga of peaceful citizens including elders of the area was carelessly and callously targeted with complete disregard to human life. In complete violation of human rights, such acts of violence take us away from our objective of elimination of terrorism. It is imperative to understand that this critical objective can not be sacrificed for temporary tactical gains.” Kayani also called the airstrike a “senseless attack” and “aggression against people of Pakistan.”
True to form, the United States maintains that all the slaughtered civilians were terrorists. “These people weren’t gathering for a bake sale,” an American official told the New York Times. “They were terrorists.” More than 700 innocent Pakistani civilians have been killed in US drone attacks, which have increased significantly during the Obama administration.
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