Tuesday, June 28, 2011

War Crime: U.S. Drone Strikes Murder 26 Suspected Militants in Pakistan

Lincoln Tribune
Peshawar, Pakistan

PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) -- U.S. drone strikes on Monday killed at least 26 suspected militants in Pakistan's volatile tribal region, local media reported Tuesday.

Four air strikes were launched at a double cabin van in the Kung Ghalai area of Bermal Tehsil in Pakistan's South Waziristan, some two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Afghan border, intelligence officials told the Express Tribune.

During the strike, about 29 kilometers (18 miles) from Wana, North Waziristan, at least 12 suspected militants, both Pakistani and Afghan, were killed and reportedly thought to be members of the Hafiz Gul Bahadur group.

Late Monday night, an unmanned aircraft launched a second attack against two residences in the Mantoi area of South Waziristan, where another 14 suspected militants were reportedly killed. No information was available regarding the number of injured during the strikes.

Controversy has surrounded the drone strikes - which have amounted to over 30 this year - as local residents and officials have blamed them for killing innocent civilians and motivating young men to join the Taliban. Details about the casualties are usually not provided. The latest strike in South Waziristan marks the sixth this month alone, while North Waziristan, which was heavily targeted in 2010, has had one drone strike this month.

Last week, another air strike from an unmanned vehicle killed at least 11 suspected militants after four missiles were launched against two suspected militant compounds and a vehicle in the the Khardand area of Pakistan's Kurram Agency, which is located near the border with Afghanistan's Paktia province.

In April, more than 40 people were killed in U.S. drone strikes in the volatile tribal region of North Waziristan, which also borders Afghanistan, prompting thousands of Pakistanis to gather and protest against the attacks during a two-day sit-in.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in its annual report that the U.S. drone strikes were responsible for 957 extra-legal killings in 2010. Since August 2008, there have been over 250 drone attacks that have reportedly killed more than 1,500 people in North and South Waziristan.

Pakistan's Afghan border, which the United States considers to be the most dangerous place on Earth, is known to be a stronghold of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network, considered one of the top terrorist organizations and threats to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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