Damadola struck by 2-drone missiles; US suspected to be behind bombing - May 16, 2008
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Imtiaz Ali is currently reporting as a Special Correspondent for the Washington Post. He has extensively covered Pakistani tribal-belt affairs and regional militarism. He has reported for Pakistan's English Daily, The News International, Dawn, the Peshawar-based daily Khyber Mail, and BBC Pashto Service. He also produces a weekly radio feature called "The Frontier Report", which focuses on daily emerging political, economic and social issues in Pakistan and its adjoining tribal areas along the Afghan boarder. His work also appears in the Daily Telegraph in London and the Globe and Mail in Toronto.
Several people were killed in a missile strike in northwest Pakistan's Bajaur Agency on Wednesday.
The Dawn newspaper reports that local witnesses saw unmanned US drones fire two missiles on a compound where militants had gathered for dinner.
The US has not confirmed its involvement, but is believed to operate predator drones into Pakistan out of Afghanistan.
On Thursday, several thousand protesters led by Islamist political party leaders attended anti-US and anti-Musharraf rallies in Damadola and nearby Khar.
In 2006, a drone missile killed 82 people, and a spate of strikes this March killed 25 people in the same region.
The US led violence is not restricted to the tribal areas of Pakistan. Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston reported that following his 12 day fact-finding mission, he found that around 200 Afghan civilians have been killed this year alone by international military forces.
From Islamabad, Washington Post special correspondent Imtiaz Ali described the situation in Damadola.
VOICEOVER: Several people were killed in a missile strike in northwest Pakistan's Bajaur Agency on Wednesday. The Dawn newspaper reports that local witnesses saw unmanned US drones fire two missiles on a compound where militants had gathered for dinner. The US has not confirmed its involvement but is believed to operate Predator drones into Pakistan out of Afghanistan.(CLIP BEGINS)MAN: One of my brothers, who was a student at a madrassa, invited his friends to dinner. We offered our prayers, and four or five minutes later, they bombed our house.(CLIP ENDS)The Dawn notes that in 2006 a pilotless Predator killed 82 people, including children. A spate of strikes in March killed 25 in the same region. On Thursday, several thousand protesters, led by Islamist political party leaders, attended anti-US and anti-Musharraf rallies in Damadola and nearby Khar. From Islamabad, Washington Post special correspondent Imtiaz Ali described the situation in Damadola.VOICE OF IMTIAZ ALI, SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT, THE WASHINGTON POST: There are many attacks in the past, and now it has become like a routine matter. The people in the tribal area, they say that they see on a daily basis the drone coming from across the border, in Afghanistan. This is not the first time, and always, mystery shrouds around such attacks. No one takes responsibility. There are some reports that the Pakistani authorities have agreed to some extent to the US authorities that they can do some of the attacks in the border region, but we cannot confirm these reports with the Pakistani officials, for the obvious reason because there is chance of a political backlash in the country. Whenever the media reported that such attacks are carried out by the United States, then there are country-wide protests. There have been demonstrations already. Even today there was a demonstration in Bajaur Agency, and there are some religious parties planning to hold rallies against this attack, and they have already issued critical statements of the Pakistani regime allowing what they call "the US aggression."VOICEOVER: The situation is not restricted to the tribal areas of Pakistan. On Thursday, a UN human rights official reported from Afghanistan that international forces have caused many civilian deaths.(CLIP BEGINS)May 15, 2008Kabul, AfghanistanPHILIP ALSTON, UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR: In terms of the international military forces, it has been reported that as many as 200 civilians have been killed in the first four months of this year. These issues of accountability are exacerbated by the operation of forces within this country which are not accountable to any military, but appear to be controlled by foreign intelligence services.DISCLAIMER:Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
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