Americans bombed the Bajaur madrassa
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: The bombing of a Pakistani madrassa last month, in which 82 students were killed, was carried out by the United States, writes Christina Lamb in The Sunday Times.
The madrassa in the tribal agency of Bajaur was bombed during a visit to Pakistan by the Prince of Wales amid allegations that it was being used to train suicide bombers.
“We thought it would be less damaging if we said we did it rather than the US,” said a key aide to President Pervez Musharraf. “But there was a lot of collateral damage and we’ve requested the Americans not to do it again.”
The Americans are believed to have attacked after a tip-off that Ayman al-Zawahiri, the deputy leader of Al Qaeda, was present. Local people claimed the victims included boys as young as 12 and that the tribal area had been negotiating with the Pakistan government for a peace deal. Pakistani officials insist they were shown satellite images of people training and have checked the identity cards of all those killed, and that all were adults, Lamb writes.
The Pakistani military said on the day of the incident that about 80 “suspected Taliban sympathisers” were killed in a raid near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Speaking at a news conference, Major-General Shaukat Sultan said that he believed 80 suspected militants had been killed in the attack on a madrassa in the border town of Chenagai, near Khar. He denied reports that children had also been killed.
The attack led to a number of protests accros the country.
In an apparently retaliatory attack on November 7, a suicide bomber killed at least 42 soldiers at a military training base in Dargai in Northwest Frontier Province. The attack occurred at about 8:40 am when fresh recruits were undergoing training in Punjab Regiment’s Training Centre.