World News : US missile strikes killed a Pakistani grandmother and 18 civilian laborers last year, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, shedding new light on a major source of tension in US-Pakistani relations.
Islamabad publicly opposes missile attacks, saying they kill too many civilians in addition to their intended target – Islamist militants. The precise extent of human loss on the ground is unclear, however, because independent journalists and researchers have only limited access to the affected regions.
Pakistan’s North Waziristan is the area of the most intensive US missile campaign in the world. Many jihadi fighters have been eliminated, but neither the Pakistani government nor the United States releases details about those killed.
Amnesty said it had conducted a detailed investigation into two strikes in North Waziristan, yielding a report based on more than 60 interviews conducted by teams of researchers working independently of each other.
“We were really shocked, especially with the grandmother case. At first we thought, that can’t be true – there must be something more to this,” said Mustafa Qadri, the Amnesty researcher who wrote the report.
“People who are clearly no imminent threat to the US, are not fighting against the US, are being killed. The US has to come clean publicly with the justifications for these killings.”
London-based Amnesty said a missile strike in the village of Ghundi Kala in October 2012 killed Mamana Bibi, 68, the wife of a retired school principal, as she was gathering vegetables. Agencies