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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

10/30/2013 (5 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Grandmother was picking okra when she was killed in unmanned strike

A translator was moved to tears on Capitol Hill as a Pakistani teenager told of how his grandmother was killed in a U.S. drone strike. Thirteen-year-old Zubair ur Rehman, along with his father Rafiq and his nine-year-old sister Nabila described how his 67-year-old Momina Bibi was picking okra when a drone fired several missiles at unknown targets near his compound.

Nine-year-old Nabila held up a hand-drawn picture depicting the strike above her village.

Nine-year-old Nabila held up a hand-drawn picture depicting the strike above her village.

Article Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/30/2013 (5 months ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Drone strikes, Pakistan, Afghanistan, innocent victims


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Zubair said he first heard the drone hovering overhead. At first he wasn't concerned because as neither he nor his grandmother were militants.

"When the drone fired the first time, the whole ground shook and black smoke rose up. The air smelled poisonous. We ran, but several minutes later the drone fired again," he said at the congressional briefing.

"People from the village came to our aid and took us to hospital. We spent the night in great agony in at the hospital and the next morning I was operated on. That is how we spent Eid.

"Now I prefer cloudy days when the drones don't fly. When the sky brightens and becomes blue, the drones return and so does the fear. Children don't play so often now, and have stopped going to school. Education isn't possible as long as the drones circle overhead."

Nabila held up a hand-drawn picture depicting the strike above her village."Everything was dark and I couldn't see anything. I heard a scream. I think it was my grandmother but I couldn't see her," she told the various members of Congress.

The father says that nobody ever told him why his mother was targeted on October 24, 2012, in Pakistan's North Waziristan province.

"Some media outlets reported that the attack was on a car, but there is no road alongside my mother's house. Others reported that the attack was on a house. But the missiles hit a nearby field, not a house. All of them reported that three, four, five militants were killed," he said.

The use of drones to fight the war on terror has grown under U.S. President Barack Obama. The number of ground troops along with the Pakistani tribal areas has been scaled back prior to a complete draw down in 2014.

It remains a major source of tension between the U.S. and Pakistan, whose prime minister, Nawaz Sharif called for an end to U.S. drone strikes during his first meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House last week.

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