March 26, 2011
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) – Pakistan will pay compensation to the families of 39 people who died in a US drone strike on a northwestern tribal area bordering Afghanistan, an official said Saturday.
Civilians and police were among those killed when missiles hit a compound in Datta Khel, 40 kilometres (25 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan on March 17.
Tribal administration official Asghar Khan told AFP a compensation package was ready for the victims’ families.
“Three hundred thousand rupees ($3,530) each will be paid to 39 families, while 100,000 rupees will be paid to six injured,” Khan said, adding that payments would commence from Monday.
Pakistan pays compensation to police and civilians who get killed in bomb blasts or terror attacks but this will be the first time that compensation has been paid to US drone attack victims.
Pakistan summoned US Ambassador Cameron Munter and told him that it would not attend the March 26 meeting with officials from Washington and Kabul in response to Thursday’s drone strike.
Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders have condemned the strike, demanding an apology and an explanation from the United States.
Intelligence sources in Peshawar said 12 Pakistani Taliban militants were killed in the attack in an area known as a key Taliban and Al-Qaeda hideout.
Missile attacks doubled in the area last year to more than 100, killing over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009, according to an AFP tally.
Most have been concentrated in North Waziristan, where the US wants the Pakistan military to launch a ground offensive as soon as possible.
General David Petraeus, the top US general in Afghanistan, reiterated earlier this month that it was “hugely important” that Pakistani forces take action against Islamist militants in North Waziristan.
Pakistan has consistently countered that its troops are too overstretched to launch an assault there.