U.S. drone attacks killing 75 in NW Pakistan in Sept.

18:51, September 15, 2010      

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In a sudden upsurge in the United States drone spy aircraft's killing spree that unleashed over the Pakistani tribal areas bordering Afghanistan in the northwest, some 75 people had so far been killed just during this month, raising serious concerns over damage to civilian properties and the lives.

At least 15 people were reported dead before Wednesday could rise on the outskirts of Miranshah, the main administrative center of the North Waziristan tribal area.

An equal number of people were also killed in two separate drone strikes in the same area on Tuesday, raising the total death toll to 30 in less than 24 hours.

The authorities have not revealed the identities and number of both civil and militants in the three consecutive drone strikes. However, local media reported that some militants of Turkmanistan and other foreign origins have also been killed.

North Waziristan is the stronghold of Bahadar group, who has a peace deal with the government but its fighters carry out attacks on NATO forces across the border into Afghanistan. Taliban from Pakistani Punjab province are also active in the area.

Haqqani network, led by Siraj-ud-Din Haqqani, the son of former Taliban commander Jalal-ud-din Haqqani also has strong presence in North Waziristan.

On the question of why a sudden focus on Haqqani network area close to the Afghan border in rugged North Waziristan area, local watchers said that reported "major movements" of Taliban across the border in Haqqani strongholds have prompted more frequent drone attacks.

Americans believe that Arab militants and their local facilitators are planning attacks across the border into Afghanistan against the NATO forces. Since a suicide attack killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan in Dec. 2009, covert U.S. drone attacks have tremendously increased in the volatile Waziristan tribal region.

The controversial drone strikes had severely been criticized by the United Nations and other international watch dogs in their reports as "extra-judicial" killings.

"Run for your life" is the most frequent screams one hear as soon as the buzzing sound of unmanned "licensed-to-kill" plane of the U.S. fills the air with fear and panic in the targeted tribal areas.

It not only forced civilian residents frantically run from pillar-to-the-post to save lives, but also has raised grave concerns over the colossal damage to civilians homes adjacent to targeted militants, local analysts observed.

"When missiles strike a suspected home, it also causes significant damage to adjacent homes," a local resident told Xinhua on anonymity for fear of being singled out on espionage suspicion.

He also pointed out a common concern about compensation for civilian deaths and loss of properties, especially in the backdrop of month's long devastating floods and torrential rains, the worst in Pakistan's history.

More than 1,000 people have so far been killed in over 100 drone strikes in troubled Pakistani tribal areas since Aug. 2008.

Source: Xinhua


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