With mass protests against the US killings continuing through the weekend, US drones once again launched multiple attacks on the North Waziristan Agency, killing at least 13 “suspects,” all of whom Pakistani officials identified as local tribesmen.
Today’s protests were at least as large as those on Friday, with reports of thousands of tribesmen taking to the streets and the marketplaces in the major towns closing to allow the shopkeepers to participate.
Protesters insisted that the attacks have killed only a small number of militants and by and large innocent civilians in the region. Though officials, predictably, labeled all of those killed today as “suspected militants,” they once again conceded that there was no information on any of the victims being militant leaders.
This has been par for the course for Pakistan’s Zardari government, which insists it “opposes” the drone strikes but has privately admitted repeatedly to having not only signed off on them, but openly assisted in their targeting. Though virtually everyone killed in the strikes, including children, get officially labeled suspects, after the fact studies show that indeed most of the victims are just innocent tribesmen who happen to live in a region inundated by US missile attacks, and that the suspicion stems entirely from them having been hit by some of those missiles.