Tribesmen in Miranshah protest US drone strikes

By AFP
Published: February 23, 2012

File photo of tribesmen at a protest rally against the US drone attacks, in Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan district. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

MIRANSHAH: Hundreds of armed tribesmen on Thursday rallied against US drone attacks in Miranshah, demanding compensation for damage and losses, witnesses said.

Markets remained closed during the rally in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, the tribal district most frequently targeted by drone strikes against Taliban and al Qaeda militants.

Up to 2,000 tribesmen gathered in Miranshah bazaar shouting “Death to America” and “Stop drone attacks in Pakistan” at the rally organised by Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI), witnesses said.

“The United Nations should take notice of American drone strikes,” cleric Maulana Abul Rehman told the gathering.

The crowd demanded an immediate end to drone attacks and compensation for those who lost relatives or property, as well as condemning this week’s burning of the Holy Quran at a US-run base in neighbouring Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama last month confirmed for the first time that US drones target Taliban and al Qaeda militants on Pakistani soil, but American officials do not discuss details of the covert programme.

According to an AFP tally, 45 US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s tribal belt in 2009, the year Obama took office, 101 in 2010 and 64 in 2011.

The programme has dramatically increased as the Obama administration looks to withdraw all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Reader Comments (9)

  • Its (still) the Economy Stupid
    Feb 23, 2012 - 5:06PM

    New ways to milk a cow! Karzai wants Pakistan to charge a premium for transporting goods, Tribesman want compensation for drone, Pakistan army wants NATO to pay for death of soldiers at the border etc. How come no one ask Taliban or Punjabi Taliban for compensation? Can victim of terrorism sue tribesman for harboring, providing safe haven and abating the terrorist amongst themselves? Funny part is it is all to get a better deal from Uncle Sam and middleman will make sure tribesman never see a dime

    Recommend

  • Ali Zafar
    Feb 23, 2012 - 5:23PM

    These tribesmen need to demonstrate outside the parliment, supreme court, GHQ or the US embassy in Islamabad. There isn’t much use protesting in Miranshah.

    Recommend

  • Javed
    Feb 23, 2012 - 5:44PM

    These tribesmen have never rallied against the Taliban who have killed 100 times more of their fellow men, women and children. They know if they rally against the Taliban it would be their last rally.

    Recommend

  • Enlightened
    Feb 23, 2012 - 6:09PM

    If I were them, I would also be raising my voice, protesting..

    Recommend

  • Palvasha von Hassell
    Feb 23, 2012 - 6:30PM

    Wasn’t there a march of tribesmen planned to Islamabad? Why did it fizzle out? No-one can stop these barbaric attacks unless the affected people make their voice heard unmistakeably, loudly and repeatedly. Doesn’t anyone know the simple, outrageous fact that places have to be found to test these drones onece they go into production? Pak govt. should on no account allow these strikes any more on hapless tribesmen, women and children. It should never have, arm-twisting by Washington notwithstanding.

    Recommend

  • Agent Provocateur
    Feb 23, 2012 - 6:47PM

    How come people still call these folks tribesmen? They are Pashtuns and should be addressed by their proper name and integrated into both Afghan and Pakistani society at large. Integrating them into their respective nation states would be the first step in recognizing their identity and addressing their grievances.

    Recommend

  • Feb 23, 2012 - 7:03PM

    True………………

    Recommend

  • Shakky
    Feb 24, 2012 - 1:56AM

    How come these tribals never protest against Taliban attacks? Very suspicious!!

    Recommend

  • MarkH
    Feb 24, 2012 - 6:45AM

    Armed? Hm, I wonder why the possibility exists that they were mistaken for militants/threats. Not to say I believe an innocent death is anywhere near common, but get some common sense. If you’re armed and seen in the general area of the militants and interacting with them, you’re basically a militant. There’s absolutely no difference by sight. I nominate them for a Darwin award. Nobody is going to ask them beforehand and then ask them to stand still for a few hours if they answer “yes.”

    Recommend

More in Pakistan