April 13th, 2010
10:48 AM ET

Pakistani military denies civilians killed in weekend strikes

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The Pakistani military Tuesday disputed reports that 80 civilians were killed in weekend airstrikes, calling the reports "absolutely wrong."

A military official told CNN there was intelligence on the ground and visual confirmation that militants were at the spot in the Tirah Valley, in northwest Pakistan, before the strikes took place.

"There was no doubt that there were militants there," said the official, who asked not to be identified because he is not the official spokesman for the Pakistani military.

A Pakistani intelligence official and a local government official told CNN on Tuesday that the strikes left 80 civilians dead in the Tirah Valley, which is in the Khyber Agency along the Afghan border.

The villagers had gathered Saturday in order to settle disputes in front of village elders, said the two officials, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak to the media. They were at the meeting, known as a jirga, when the helicopter gunships opened fire, the sources said.

A top government official in Khyber Agency, Shafir Ullah Wazir, told CNN that Monday, about 70 villagers from Tirah Valley met with him and protested the killings on the record. Wazir said he gave the group $117,000 as compensation for the victims' families.

The Pakistani military official told CNN "there's a small possibility that there was collateral damage" but denied reports of 80 civilians killed.

"There were bunkers made by the militants and armed militants in the area," he said.

Thirty militants were killed in the strikes, and if any civilians were killed, "it was unintentional," he said.

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Filed under: Civilian deaths • Pakistan
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. James Thomas

    Well, Family Feud is actually a classic game that traces back wayback in the 80's i guess. It is a nice game anyway..;"

    May 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Iraq Paramedic

    Daniel & Nathanael, I like you guys & I have never met either of you. Anyway Pakistan is getting a taste of what our guys are dealing with now. The Taliban have planning secsions & meetings to run their shadow governments & there are civilians there, some willingly & some not, & they get intell & move on it & what do you know some civies get killed & now they are paying them just like we pay them & word is spreading & I garraunty that these people are sacrificing some of their own for money. It is terrible but it happens in poor , uneducated, third world countries where the people are not allowed to learn or advance in life. That is exactly the way the Taliban want to keep these people so they can rule & hang on to what power & money they get from it. Show these people the true benifit of good education, medicine, good government & real human rights & they will grow quickly into good stewarts of GOD's Blessings.
    May GOD Bless & keep us all !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 13, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nathanael [desert voice]

    Pakistan is a cauldron of misinformation. They should completely rebuild their special security forces, These people have no patriotic feelings and no honor. If they have a family feud with some other clan, they say "that' the Taliban. Bomb it." You can't run intelligence in this manner. I wonder if the President of Pakistan is a figurehead, and if he has the power to probe his security forces! It may well be that someone gave orders to bomb a civilian tribe!

    April 13, 2010 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Daniel

    Why should the Pakistanis admit to their mistakes? Are they trying to impress us,or what? Maybe the right-wing thugs in Washington are trying to fool us into believing that we're getting our money's worth out of the Pakistanis as we continue to fight that war by proxy.

    April 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Beth Lunsford

    This is a war! Get out of the area if you don't want to get killed. I'm also sick of the extra stress our troops in America are having to deal with because of having to fight with one arm behind their back. It's ridiculous. Go troops.

    April 13, 2010 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |