Afghanistan, Central Intelligence Agency, CIA director John Brennan, Crimes against humanity, Death by Drones, Drone attacks in Pakistan, Hamid Karzai, Helmand Province, Imran Khan, ISLAMABAD, Karzai, Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, NATO, Pakistan, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Shireen Mazari, United States
“A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.” – Albert Einstein
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Missiles fired overnight by an American drone killed a “suspected militant” and at least one child had been killed in the drone strike that also left two women injured in Faqirano village of Garmsir district.in northwestern Pakistan, a Pakistani intelligence official said on Friday. The incident drew strong criticism from a Pakistani opposition political party that is campaigning against the use of drones by the United States inside Pakistani territory.
The attack, which militant sources said killed the Haqqanis’ spiritual leader along with five others, was extremely unusual in that it was mounted outside Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border.
The letter signed by PTI information secretary Shireen Mazari asked Hangu police to name CIA director John Brennan and a man they identified as the agency’s Islamabad station chief as suspects for murder and “waging war against Pakistan”.
Mr. Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, raised the stakes in its campaign against drone strikes on Wednesday when it accused the Central Intelligence Agency and a man it identified as the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad of murder.
The accusation was the latest move in Mr. Khan’s attempts to end the strikes, which, he says have jeopardized peace talks with Taliban insurgents. On Nov. 23, Mr. Khan led a big protest rally in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkwa province, which his political party rules. Since then, party workers have attempted to block NATO supplies in the province.
After the latest strike, Mr. Khan’s party officials renewed their criticism.
The “U.S. has nothing but contempt for Pakistan’s leadership,” said Shireen Mazari, the party’s central information secretary, calling the attack a “direct test of the will of the federal government” led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
U.S. General Apologizes After Afghan Drone Strike
KABUL, Afghanistan — The American military commander called President Hamid Karzai to apologize for a drone strike in southern Helmand Province, which the military conceded had killed and wounded civilians, a coalition official said on Friday.
Mr. Karzai had lashed out at his American allies after the Thursday attack, which came at a delicate moment when talks between Mr. Karzai and the United States over a long-term security agreement have reached an impasse. The Americans have told Mr. Karzai that unless he signs the agreement promptly, they will begin planning for a total withdrawal of American and NATO forces after the end of next year.
Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, made a late-night phone call to President Karzai on Thursday after the president’s criticism became public. “He talked to President Karzai directly, expressed deep regrets for the incident and any civilian casualties, and promised to convene an immediate joint investigation to determine all the facts of what happened,” a coalition spokesman said, speaking on the condition of anonymity in line with official policy.
Mr. Karzai vowed this week, at the conclusion of a loya jirga, or grand council, that he would cancel the security agreement completely if there was even one more raid that killed civilians.
On Thursday, he said that in effect that moment had come. “For as long as such arbitrary acts and oppression of foreign forces continue, the security agreement with the United States will not be signed,” he said.
The loya jirga overwhelmingly approved the security agreement last week and called on Mr. Karzai to sign it quickly. The Americans have said that would be necessary to allow time to prepare for a longer-term mission.
Mr. Karzai said he was adding a series of new conditions beyond what he had already negotiated and would not sign until those were satisfied. One of those new conditions was an immediate ban on any raids on Afghan homes. While the raids he was speaking of were primarily those carried out by Special Operations forces on the ground, his statement on Thursday made it clear that he now included drone strikes in his prohibition.
The coalition spokesman confirmed that two drone incidents had taken place in Helmand Province on Thursday. The first, in the Garmsir district, targeted an “insurgent commander” traveling on a motorcycle, but missed him and hit civilians. At least one child was killed, and two women were severely wounded. The targeted man fled on foot and was [allegedly] killed by a later drone strike. In the second, in the Nawa Barak Sai district nearby, another drone strike killed a single “insurgent target” and caused no civilian casualties, the spokesman said.
“This attack shows that American forces do not respect the lives and security of the people of Afghanistan and the loya jirga decision,” Mr. Karzai said. “For years, our people are being killed and their houses are being destroyed under the pretext of the war on terror.”
In a text message Friday morning, Aimal Faizi, the president’s spokesman, said, “It makes very difficult for the president to authorize the signing of B.S.A.,” referring to the bilateral security agreement.
After Mr. Karzai announced that he wanted to reopen negotiations on the agreement, President Obama’s national security adviser, Susan E. Rice, told him in a meeting here Monday that the United States had concluded negotiations and that, unless he changed his mind, Washington would begin planning for a total withdrawal.
The bilateral security agreement provides for a 10-year American military presence in Afghanistan, beginning in 2015. Ms. Rice also said that financial aid to Afghanistan’s security forces would be “imperiled without an agreement.”
Both sides have continued to hammer home their positions in public statements. Mr. Karzai told Radio Free Europe, in an interview on Tuesday, “If America wants to conclude a security agreement with us, America needs to respect the security of Afghan homes.”
In a public meeting in the city of Herat on Wednesday, the American ambassador, James B. Cunningham, reminded listeners that even Mr. Karzai’s handpicked loya jirga, composed of about 2,500 leaders from around the country, had urged him to sign the agreement quickly.
“Zero is not an option for us,” Mr. Cunningham said. “It could be a consequence of decisions that your government takes or doesn’t take.”
In Pakistan survivors of US drone strikes, and families bereaved by them, are planning legal action in the country’s Supreme Court.
The CIA is estimated to have carried out more than 300 drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal belt since 2004, killing more than 2,000 people.
The majority are thought to be suspected militants, but campaigners say hundreds of innocent
- Karzai again accuses Western forces of attacking Afghan civilians (latimes.com)
- US General Apologizes After Afghan Drone Strike – New York Times (topbreakingnews.info)
- US drone strike, Karzai vows not to sign US security agreement (thenewstribe.com)
- NATO Forces Regret Civilian Casualties in Afghan Drone Strike (abcnews.go.com)
- Pakistani official outs CIA officials in drone investigation (edition.cnn.com)
- Karzai, Pakistan Protests against US Drone Strikes may force US out (juancole.com)