Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Brother of Slain Taliban Chief’s Driver Presses Charges over U.S. Drone Hit | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page
Media ID: 55351261

Pakistani residents of Baluchistan gather around a destroyed vehicle hit by a drone strike in which Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour was killed. AFP

Washington-The Pentagon refused on Monday to comment on the charges that the brother of a man, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike alongside the Taliban’s slain chief Mullah Akthar Mansour, has pressed against U.S. officials.

A Pentagon source only said that the U.S. government does not recognize verdicts issued by courts abroad, mainly those linked to national security.

Mansour was travelling by car near the Pakistani town of Ahmad Wal on May 21 when he was killed.

U.S. officials described the car’s driver as a “second male combatant” but according to Pakistani security officials he was a chauffeur named Mohammad Azam who worked for the Al Habib rental company based out of Quetta, the region’s main city.

His brother, Mohammad Qasim, said Azam was an innocent man who was providing for his four children and had been murdered.

“U.S. officials whose name I do not know accepted responsibility in the media for this incident, so I want justice and request legal action against those responsible for it,” Qasim said in a police report dated May 25.

“My brother was innocent, he was very poor and he has left behind four small children. He was the lone breadwinner in the family,” he said.

“My aim is to prove the innocence of my brother as he is being portrayed as a militant, but he was just a driver,” Qasim added.

A Federal court in Washington dismissed in 2014 lawsuits filed against top American officials by the families of three terrorists killed by drones in Yemen.

The suits were filed against then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, then-CIA Director David Petraeus and two commanders in the military’s Special Operations forces.

They were accused of using unjustified force against Anwar al-Awlaki, who was a wanted terrorist in Yemen and the U.S., his son and his assistant.

The three of them, who were American citizens, were killed in October 2011 in a U.S. drone strike.

Permitting a lawsuit against individual officials “under the circumstances of this case would impermissibly draw the court into ‘the heart of executive and military planning and deliberation,’ ” said U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer in 2014.