Drone strike targeted individual morphed into Afghan refugees

Staff Reporter

Rawalpindi

The drone strike on January 24 in Spintal, Hangu district was on individual target who had morphed into Afghan refugees and not any organized terrorists sanctuary which have been eliminated. Out of total 54 Afghan refugees/complexes in Pakistan, 43 are in KP with overlap in FATA (complexes in Hangu including where drone struck on 24 Jan 18, shown on map).
This validates Pakistan’s stance that left over terrorists easily morph into Afghan refugees camps/complexes. Thus their early and dignified return to Afghanistan is essential. Pakistan’s brotherly hospitality to peaceful Afghan refugees must not be exploited by the terrorists.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Office maintained that the drone attack in Kurram Agency targeted an Afghan refugee camp in tribal area after a US statement said that the drone strike hit militant hideout. The drone strike, which took place well inside Pakistani territory on Wednesday, killed two people .
US Embassy in a statement earlier on Thursday stated that Pakistan´s claim that the drone strike hit a refugee camp is “false”.
The Foreign Office spokesman condemned the “unilateral action” late Wednesday, saying it had targeted an Afghan refugee camp, but made no mention of casualties.
“The claim in (a foreign ministry) statement yesterday that US forces struck an Afghan refugee camp in Kurram Agency yesterday is false,” a spokesman for the US embassy in Islamabad said. The FO spokesman said there are two refugee camps in the area, and that the drone hit one of them.
“Pakistan condemned the drone strike in Kurram Agency carried out by the Resolute Support Mission, which targeted an Afghan refugee camp,” the spokesman said.
“Pakistan has also been stressing the need of early repatriation of Afghan refugees, as their presence in Pakistan helps Afghan terrorists to melt and morph among them.”
Nearly 1.4 million Afghan refugees remain in Pakistan, according to UNHCR figures. Unofficial estimates suggest a further 700,000 undocumented refugees could be in the country.
After Washington froze $2 billion aid to Pakistan this month, Islamabad set a deadline of January 31 for all the refugees to return to Afghanistan.

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