73 innocent civilians killed in airstrikes in Khyber (FATA)

April 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

The BBC is confirming that at least 73 innocent civilians were killed in a smal village in Khyber Agency in FATA on Saturday. The casualties occurred as a result of a bombing by a Pakistan military jet, which was ostensibly targeting Taliban militants in nearby Orakzai (where a military operation is currently underway). To add to the people’s misery, apparently 13 more people were killed in a US drone attack on Monday.

Adding insult to injury is the official position of the Pakistani military, which continues to insist that these were legitimate military targets, and that most of the people killed were militants:

Military spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas told Associated Press news agency on Monday that those killed in the Pakistan army air strike were attacked because it had intelligence that militants were gathering at the site.

He denied civilians had died and said the victims were initially reported to be suspected militants, AP said.

Of course, it’s easy to claim that these were “militants” when the military gets to define who is a militant. Apparently, all you need to qualify as a militant and as a threat to the state is just to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Or just look funny. It used to be that the Army would “shoot first, ask questions later,” but even questions aren’t allowed anymore after the fact. We can’t have people questioning the Army, for heaven’s sake. One must follow it blindly and trust it implicitly.

Meanwhile, local leaders have apparently admitted the error and have already paid compensation to the victims’ families.

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