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US officials: Drone strike kills five ‘militants’ in NW Pakistan

By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, February 20, 2011 22:05 EDT
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A US drone attack late on Sunday killed at least five militants in northwest Pakistan’s lawless South Waziristan tribal district, officials said.

The drone strike was the first since a US gunman shot and killed two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore on January 27, triggering a diplomatic row between Pakistan and its key terror ally the United States.

“Five militants were killed in the strike,” a military official told AFP. “The target was a house used by militants,” he added, requesting anonymity.

An intelligence official who confirmed the attack put the toll at six dead and three wounded.

The unmanned aircraft fired three missiles at the house in Kaza Panga village, 15 kilometres (10 miles) west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.

Washington has been at pains to play down talks of a rift with Pakistan over the detention of Raymond Davis, a US diplomat who shot the two men in a busy Lahore street.

The US has argued that Davis, who claims to have fired in self-defence, should be released under diplomatic immunity.

It was not immediately clear if there were any high-profile victims in the latest drone strike on the tribal areas, which are close to the Afghan border and a key battleground in the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The United States does not confirm drone attacks, but its military and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy them in the region.

The US strikes are deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public, who see foreign military action on Pakistani soil as a violation of national sovereignty.

The death toll of at least five dead in the latest attack is small compared to previous raids.

A series of strikes on January 1 killed at least 15 people and destroyed a Taliban compound, according to Pakistani officials. That attack was quickly followed by several more, but there has been a comparative lull since.

Some observers have said that may be to do with Davis’s detention.

Missile attacks doubled in the tribal areas last year as the covert campaign was stepped up, with more than 100 drone strikes killing over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009, according to an AFP tally.

Pakistan tacitly cooperates with the bombing campaign, which US officials say has severely weakened Al-Qaeda’s leadership.

Washington says the strikes have killed a number of high-value targets, including the former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
 
 
 
 
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  • Anonymous

    $ir: Prize me with a noble Peace Drone

  • Anonymous

    I would like to ask President Obama. Just what the FUCK IS THE US DOING IN PAKISTAN?????? The asshole Bush got us involved in Afghanistan and Iraq by a series of LIES and now you have extended to Pakistan…………. WHY?????

  • Anonymous

    These attacks are illegal. There is no way to know that these people committed any crimes. Our government is out of control.

  • Anonymous

    Those militant Pakis are such a threat to me. I feel so much safer now. Why don’t we go ahead and declare war. And on anyone who doesn’t dress like us, or speak American.

  • Anonymous

    This should make you feel even more ‘safer’.

    “U.S. taxpayers are paying the Department of Homeland Security $56,336,000,000 this year.

  • Taleisin

    When did ‘legal’ ever stop the government?

  • MothMan

    “Militants”, is that just someone who doesnt agree with US policies?

    Are they just wantonly slaughtering people simply because they dont agree with US wars and oppression?

    I mean WTF is going on here?

  • Anonymous

    Why is this news? Doesn’t this happen all the time? This is nothing. Not saying it’s right, but RawStory’s top article? Nah…

  • bpollen

    They are “de facto” militants because they were killed by a drone. Only militants are killed by drone attacks. The US would only kill bad people, not good people, so they obviously were “militants” or “insurgents” or “rebels” or whatever the label du jour happens to be.

    I hate friggin’ propaganda… giving it a fancy name like propaganda doesn’t REALLY make lies taste any better.

  • Anonymous

    Or five civilians. Which ever comes first.

  • Anonymous

    Not Bush or Obama. The Bankers.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody asks, of “who are these militants?” “Why are they militants?” “Who is their target?” “Why?”. Simple basic questions, that even 3 year olds ask around. And NO ONE can answer these simple little questions.

    Question: Would you be a “militant”, if the Chinese would send drone strikes at your state? Because “there might be a terrorist” hiding in one of the houses, who said “F.U” to one of the Chinese politicans?
    So the drone strike would take out that lonely looser, with your entire family, because you were driving by. Would you be a “militant”? Would you be saying “Chinese, get out or I’ll start and arm myself and shoot back!” Oh wait, USA is already armed to the teeth.. The difference is, USA has never been occupied by a foreign army since the British. Every other country has and not one of them will just take it and yes, there will be “terrorists” and “militants” no matter if it’s Pakistan, Indonesia or even France.

  • Anonymous

    “The drone strike was the first since a US gunman shot and killed two Pakistanis in the eastern city of Lahore …”

    This is worth a closer look:

    —–snippet—–

    When Pakistani police took Davis into custody on January 27th, he had on his person an ordinary American passport with a valid ordinary Pakistan visa, issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. On January 28th, a member of the US Consulate wanted the Pakistani police to exchange that passport in Davis’ possession with another one. The fresh passport being offered was a diplomatic passport with a valid diplomatic visa dated sometime in 2009. This visa was stamped in Islamabad by the FO!

    It gets ridiculously funnier. The prosecutor representing the Punjab government has presented two letters from the US Embassy as evidence before the Lahore High Court, forwarded to the Punjab government through the FO. The first letter, dated January 27, reads: “Davis is an employee of the US Consulate General Lahore and holder of a diplomatic passport.” The second, dated February 3rd, states that Davis is a member of the “administrative and technical staff of the US Embassy Islamabad!” Just how gullible do the Americans take Pakistanis to be!. . . .

    Source link: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27516.htm

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KLF5SUA5RDYXG54WWF5SHMVRAI X

    “Militants” is Obama codespeak for “young children.”

  • Anonymous

    Worse B.S. than Vietnam

  • DriveBy

    We have “smart” drones…. our brave drones never kill innocents – always insurgents, Al Qaeda elements, suspected terrorist elements, terrorists, Al Qaeda sympathizers… anything but never innocents.

  • YeaSayer

    Just how gullible do the Americans take Pakistanis to be

    Well, don’t be surprised if the Americans claim diplomatic immunity for drones.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant work, boys. 15 million in missiles to blow the top off a mud hut. That only buys the missile itself. Add a few million for having money guns from Blackwater smuggle it into Pakistan, and a few million to pay our enemies in Afghanistan to let our fuel shipment through. So roughly we spent several million per dead human. We could have bought them off and sent them to live well in the Bahamas for far less.
    We also could have spent that money to pay the social security bill, or to build trains. 20 years from now people would still be riding those trains when the dead of waziristan are long forgotten here. Instead, 20 years from now the American working stiff will still be making payments on those misslies.

  • Anonymous

    We do not ask the background story anywhere in the world, we just shoot. This is especially true of our southern border, where republicans encouraged the flood of cheap labor to keep wages down. The question never comes up, “why are they coming here”? What is wrong in Mexico that there is no work at decent wages? Is it because our terror war on citizens who use drugs has taken Mexico back to the wild west days, where gunmen rule the streets?

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Davis is without question a CIA assassin.

    David Lindorff:

    Davis (whose identity was first denied and later confirmed by the US Embassy in Islamabad) and the embassy have claimed that he was hired as an employee of a US security company called Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC, which was said to be located at 5100 North Lane in Orlando, Florida. Business cards for Hyperion were found on Davis by arresting officers…

    First, there is not and never has been any such company located at the 5100 North Lane address. It is only an empty storefront, with empty shelves along one wall and an empty counter on the opposite wall, with just a lone used Coke cup sitting on it. A leasing agency sign is on the window. A receptionist at the IB Green & Associates rental agency located in Leesburg, Florida, said that her agency, which handles the property, part of a desolate-looking strip mall of mostly empty storefronts, has never leased to a Hyperion Protective Consultants. She added, “In fact, until recently, we had for several years occupied that address ourselves.”
    (…)
    The non-existent Hyperion Protective Consultants does have a website (www.hyperion-protective.com), but one of the phone numbers listed doesn’t work, an 800 number produces a recorded answer offering information about how to deal with or fend off bank foreclosures, and a third number with an Orlando exchange goes to a recording giving Hyperion’s corporate name and asking the caller to leave a message. Efforts to contact anyone on that line were unsuccessful. The local phone company says there is no public listing for Hyperion Protective Consultants–a rather unusual situation for a legitimate business operation.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Methinks Mr. Davis will be leaving Pakistan minus his head.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Obama is codespeak for Bush.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    Drones are the purest patriots of all. Their loyalty will never waver.

  • H.P. Loathecraft

    …Davis claims he acted in self-defense when they attacked his car to rob him — both of the dead were armed and had lengthy records of petty crimes — but each was shot five times, and one was killed after Davis was safely back in his car and the victim was fleeing. After shooting the two dead, Davis calmly photographed their bodies and then called other Americans stationed in Pakistan (likely CIA officers) for assistance; one of the Americans’ Land Rovers dispatched to help Davis struck and killed a Pakistani motorcyclist while speeding to the scene. The Pakistani wife of one of Davis’ victims then committed suicide by swallowing rat poison, saying on her deathbed that she had serious doubts that Davis would be held accountable.

    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Well, of course, they’re militants ~wink, wink~ In fact, these were the [Taliban/Al Qaeda] nos. 1 thru 5. Again! The US would never, ever, kill civilian women and children or a bridal party. However, in the of chance that they do, besides being collateral damage or their fault for having been at the wrong place at the right time, their action is perfect pre-emptive tool for fighting “terrorism.” Killing the women before they can get pregnant ensures that they will not bear any would be terrorists. As for the ones who are already here, ditto. Get ‘em while they’re young so they don’t have a chance to grow up and become “terrorists” only because the CIA droned their entire village in front of their eyes.

    Coincidentally, I guess that, either this puts to rest that theory floating around of Davis being the point man for the drone strikes or they have replaced him already and they’re back in business.

    I guess the dictator of Pakistan is due for a serious uprising. When they depose him, they should attach one of Davis’ GPS to him and drop him off in an isolated tribal area and let the drones do their job on him. That would be poetic justice indeed.

    Accompanying the article on Al Jazeera was a photograph of a group of Pakistani protesters holding a big banner that read: “Terrorist? CIA or Taliban? Ask the victims of drone attacks!”

  • Johnny Warbucks
  • Johnny Warbucks

    Yet, they only give the families of the dead a couple thousand bucks and that is only if they sue.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Not only that but those drones are so smart, that they always hit Al Qaeda/Taliban bad guys nos. 1 thru (whatever the number of victims). They never miss, not once. In fact, sometimes, they even get them while they’re still in their mothers’ wombs just to make sure they don’t grow up and cause havoc or anything.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    And women. Sometimes, also bride and groom and their bridal party.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    If the Pakistanis were smart, they would attach one of his GPS to him, drop him off on an isolated tribal area and turn on the homing device. Muuuaaa haaaa…

  • Johnny Warbucks

    That’s been the US MO for a couple hundred years. Look at 9/11. Heavens, nobody knows why. After all, it’s not as if the US has ever even gone to the Middle East or anything. From afar, those people saw on the television sets they don’t have all the demokracy Amerikans enjoy, the got jealous, hated them for those freedoms and boom! 9/11. Israelis do the same thing. Their “wars” only start when the other side defends themselves.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Apparently, Pakistanis had gone on a wedding moratorium for fear of being droned. Ye know, you gotta catch those “terrorists” before they’re even conceived. What better than to kill them on their parents wedding day.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    These poor people have no freakin’ idea what it’s going on. They’re just poor schmucks drinking a cup of tea in their kitchen one day or sleeping or getting married and next thing they know, boom! They’re dead. The only crime they have committed is that of being in an area the US wants to raze to take something or build a base or a pipe or whatever. Of course, their dictators are taking cold hard cash from the US in exchange for giving the CIA permission to kill their own people. Still, nobody can understand why all those people in the ME are revolting against their tinpot dictators.

  • Johnny Warbucks

    Is that for killing women and children in Pakistan or for the sexual molestation at the airports? Or both?

  • Johnny Warbucks

    And Yemen. Please, don’t forget Yemen.

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