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KABUL: The US commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan has apologised over the deaths of civilians in an air strike this week, a spokesman said Friday.

General John Allen flew to Logar province “to see local leaders and the population to apologise and offer condolences to the families”, Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson told AFP.

This is the first public acknowledgement by Nato that civilians died in the air strike on a home in the province in the early hours of Wednesday.

Afghan officials said 18 civilians, including women and children, were killed.

President Hamid Karzai has expressed his outrage, cutting short a visit to Beijing to return home.

“Attacks by Nato that cause life and property losses to civilians under no circumstances could be justified and are not acceptable,” Karzai said of the attack.

Nato’s US-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) initially reported that “multiple insurgents” were killed in the strike, which was ordered after troops came under fire during an operation against a Taliban insurgent leader.

 

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Islamabad: The United Nations (UN) human rights chief Navi Pillay on Thursday called for a UN investigation into US drone strikes in Pakistan, questioning their legality and saying they kill innocent civilians.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay made the remarks at the end of a four-day visit to the country, where US drone strikes have on average targeted militants once every four days under US President Barack Obama.

Islamabad is understood to have approved the strikes on Al Qaeda and Taliban targets in the past. But the government has become increasingly energetic in its public opposition as relations with Washington have nosedived.

“Drone attacks do raise serious questions about compliance with international law,” Pillay told a news conference in Islamabad.

“The principle of distinction and proportionality and ensuring accountability for any failure to comply with international law is also difficult when drone attacks are conducted outside the military chain of command and beyond effective and transparent mechanisms of civilian or military control,” she said.

She said the attacks violate human rights.

“I see the indiscriminate killings and injuries of civilians in any circumstances as human rights violations.”

The UN human rights chief provided no statistics but called for an investigation into civilian casualties, which she said were difficult to track.

“Because these attacks are indiscriminate it is very, very difficult to track the numbers of people who have been killed,” she said.

“I suggested to the government that they invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Summary or Arbitrary Executions and he will be able to investigate some of the incidents.”

She said that UN chief Ban Ki-moon had urged states to be “more transparent” about circumstances in which drones are used and take necessary precautions to ensure that the attacks involving drones comply with applicable international law.

“So therefore I stress the importance of investigating such cases and ensuring compensation and redress to the victims.”

Washington releases few details about its covert drone programme in Pakistan but on Wednesday US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta described them as self-defence and promised that they would continue to target Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

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Osama bin Laden died a natural death nearly 5 years before it was announced that he was eliminated by the American commandos. This sensational statement was made by a Turkish politician, and a former U.S. intelligence agent.  In an interview with Russia’s Channel One, he said that the Americans simply found and opened the tomb of the leader of al-Qaeda.

The journalists of Channel One first met this man in 2008. At the time he was featured in the documentary “Plan Caucasus,” talking about the attempts of the western intelligence services in the early 1990′s to separate the Northern Caucasus and, in particular, Chechnya from Russia. Chechen by nationality, Berkan Yashar is now a Turkish politician, but in those years he was one of the ideologists of Johar Dudayev. He asked for a meeting, promising to tell the truth about the death of Osama bin Laden whom he met in the early 90-ies in Chechnya.

“In September of 1992 I was in Chechnya, that’s when I first met the man whose name was Bin Laden. This meeting took place in a two-story house in the city of Grozny; on the top floor was a family of Gamsakhurdia, the Georgian president, who then was kicked out of his country. We met on the bottom floor; Osama lived in the same building, “said Berkan Yashar. Berkan said he did not know why bin Laden visited while in Grozny, and said only one thing about his meetings: “Just wanted to talk.”

However, according to Channel One, in those years the former employee of Radio Liberty Berkan Yashar already had an operational name Abubakar, given to him by the CIA. According to Berkan, after that trip Chechen nationals appeared in Osama bin Laden’s circle. Berkan Yashar emphasized that they did not participate “directly in the terror bombings.” “They protected bin Laden, it was his choice because he trusted them entirely, and knew that they would never betray,” said Yashar. According to Yashar he was not the only one who knew about it, but the Russian security services and the CIA were aware of this as well.

Answering the question whether he believed that the Americans killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, Berkan Yashar answered: “Even if the entire world believed I could not possibly believe it.” “I personally know the Chechens who protected him, they are Sami, Mahmood, and Ayub, and they were with him until the very end. I remember that day very well, there were three sixes in it: 26 June 2006. These people, as well as two others from London and two Americans, all seven of them, saw him dead. He was very ill, he was skin and bones, very thin, and they washed him and buried him,” said Berkan Yashar.

Yashar stressed that although the two American Muslims and two British Muslims the guards of bin Laden and saw him dead, they did not participate in the funerals. “Only three Chechens buried him, according to his will,” said Yashar. Bin Laden was buried, according to Yashar, in the mountains on the Pakistan-Afghan border. “There was no assault,” said Yashar. “I know the American operations from the inside: they find the grave, dig out bin Laden and tell everyone about this. They need to show how technologically the security services worked, how each step was controlled, and then present it as a great victory to show that taxpayers are not paying taxes for nothing. “

Berkan now blames himself for the fact that the Chechens from the protection of bin Laden, “the terrorist number one” are no longer alive after the U.S. intelligence services began to tap Berkan’s telephone conversations. He said he was the first one who announced the date of death of bin Laden. “I was the first one who announced the date of his death in November of 2008 at a conference in Washington, not naming any names, and it looks like it was when the Americans began to track my contacts,” he said.

The last security guard Berkan saw Sami, who, according to him, a few days before bin Laden was declared killed, was kidnapped by the U.S. intelligence agencies. According to Berkan, most likely, it was him who disclosed to them the exact place of burial in the mountains on the Pakistan-Afghan border.
In any case, the last call from Sami was from Pakistan. Berkan explained why he informed the journalists of Channel One: he feared for his life. According to him, only wide publicity around the world can protect him from the CIA. However, just in case, the Turkish secret services, according to him, provided him with guards and weapons.

Source : www.turkishnews.com

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Three drone strikes have killed 27 people: Officials PHOTO

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Monday strongly condemned a jump in US drone strikes on its territory, as a deadlock between the two strategic allies over the attacks remains unresolved.

Three drone strikes in in three days on suspected militants have killed 27 people, Pakistani intelligence officials say.

The foreign ministry called the attacks “illegal” and said they violated the country’s sovereignty.

A statement released on Monday said that the strategic disadvantages of the strikes far outweigh the tactical benefits, hence totally counterproductive.

Washington and Islamabad are deadlocked in negotiations over the re-opening of land supply routes to Nato forces in Afghanistan. One of the conditions put forward by Pakkistan’s Parliament to re-open the routes is a halt in the strikes.

Islamabad blocked the supply routes in November after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by cross-border ‘friendly fire’ from Nato aircraft.

The supply lines are considered vital to the planned withdrawal of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014.

The Pakistan’s government says the CIA drone campaign fuels anti-American sentiment in the country, and is counterproductive because of the collateral damage – civilian deaths – it causes.

US officials say such strikes by the remotely piloted aircraft are a highly effective way of attacking militants and are an important weapon in the war against militancy. They maintain that the attacks are per US laws.

Course:  The Express Tribune Pakistan

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Miranshah: At least 15 people were killed and several others injured when a US drone fired missiles on two houses in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan, Pakistan’s tribal area bordering Afghanistan, sources said on Monday.

The Sources said that the unmanned plane fired two missiles on two house at Khaisu road of the agency.

“Fear prevailed in the area as more drones were still flying in the air,” they said adding that the rescue process was also delayed due to drones flying in the air.

Although the Pakistani government has emphasized on United States (US) to halt drone strikes within the country’s territory but it seemed that the request was put aside by the US leadership.

It is to be mentioned that according to a tally compiled by The News Tribe, almost 150 people have been killed in the drone strikes during this year.

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At least four people were killed when a US drone fired missiles in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near Afghan border, sources said on Saturday.

The sources said that the attack took place in Khawashi village of South Waziristan Agency.

They said the unmanned aircraft targeted a vehicle.

Anti-American sentiments are running high in the South Asian Islamic nation after the Nato aggression despite country’s continued efforts against extremists and military campaign against the home grown terrorists.

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ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan will address a public gathering outside the United Nations on Friday July 1 to protest against the US drone attacks in Pakistan. “Imran Khan will address a public meeting at United Nations against US drone attacks and try to wake the conscience of the international community,” sources said. Khan had also participated in rallies against drone strikes in the Tribal Areas and had also temporarily blocked the NATO supplies to condemn the drone strikes.

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