Pakistani security forces miss target, kill 11 civilians

March 12th, 2008 - 4:05 pm ICT by admin  

Islamabad, March 12 (DPA) Pakistan’s security forces missed the militant hideout they were aiming at and killed 11 civilians in an artillery barrage that landed in a residential area in the restive tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, a media report said Wednesday. Those killed included two women; about a dozen were wounded, The News reported.

The paramilitary troops fired artillery and mortars on suspected militant locations in Nawagai area of Bajaur tribal district after one of their colleagues was wounded by an improvised explosive device late Tuesday.

Local residents said most of the shells fell in residential areas and caused serious damage to houses, the report said.

Fighting then erupted between security forces and tribal militant forces and continued for several hours. Both sides then ceased fire for about one hour allowing locals to burry their dead and pull their wounded out from destroyed homes and take them to safer areas.

Pakistan’s tribal areas are safe-havens for Al Qaeda militants and Taliban fighters who continue to launch cross-border attacks on international forces into Afghanistan. Recently they have turned inward and launched regular raids against Pakistani security forces and rival tribesmen.

Civilians are often caught in the middle, from both suicide attacks targeting security forces or artillery fire and helicopter gun ships attacking militant positions.

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