NATO Jets Kill Eight After Khyber Border Clash

by Jason Ditz, November 09, 2008

NATO jets launched a bombing raid in the Khyber Agency’s Tirah Valley today, killing eight and injuring three others. The strikes came after a reported exchange of fire between rebels and Afghan forces along the border.

The attack targeted a banned organization known as Amir Bil Maroof, one of the organizations targeted by the Pakistani military in a summer offensive aimed at disbanding a “parallel government” operating the Khyber Agency.

Most foreign strikes into Pakistan have focused on North and South Waziristan Agencies, while Khyber Agency has been one of the few spots of relative quiet along the restive border between Afghanistan and Pakistan since a peace deal was reached between the Pakistani government and tribal elders in July. To the extent there have been “Taliban attacks” in the region, officials and tribesmen say they are criminals pretending to be Taliban to settle scores with rival.

It is unclear at this point if those killed were militants or civilians, as some reports in Pakistan’s media call them “pedestrians” while others simply call them “members” of the banned organization. Judging from the site of the attack it seems unlikely they were able to target the same people involved in the border clash.

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