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Pakistani Victims of CIA Drone Strike Travel to US to Bring Their Story to Americans

Family of Momana Bibi, 67-year-old grandmother killed in US drone strike in Pakistan. Zubair is furthest left & Rafiq is the older man near Zubair. (Picture from Amnesty International report)

Rafiq ur Rehman is a Pakistani whose 67-year-old mother was killed and whose children were injured by a CIA drone strike. His family has received no explanation from the US government on why she was killed.

To educate Americans on the effect that drone strikes have had on his country, Rafiq and his thirteen year-old son, Zubair, traveled to the US. They will be participating in a congressional briefing called by Rep. Alan Grayson. They also appear in a new documentary from Brave New Films called Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars.

“As an educator,” Rafiq told Firedoglake, “my job is to educate so I have come here to hopefully make American citizens as well as the US government aware that drones are, in fact, hurting innocent individuals like it killed my mother. It has injured my children. It is causing disruption in the lives of innocents.”

He said his family has seen President Barack Obama on television. “We know that he is associated with drones, and we’re coming to address the US government.”

“We understand that this has nothing to do with American citizens. They’re just like us,” Rafiq added. He also thinks it is not only the US government’s fault because the Pakistani government has a duty to keep the people of Pakistan safe too.

On October 24, 2012, Momina Bibi, Rafiq’s mother, was killed by a drone. She was out gathering okra for a meal that evening when at least two Hellfire missiles came down from the sky and obliterated her.

It was the evening before Eid. Rafiq left the school and went to a nearby city to get some thing for the holiday for his mother and himself. He also visited his sister. When he returned to his small village on the outskirts of Miranshah in North Waziristan, the first thing he saw was the village graveyard with a newly dug grave.

Rafiq became really tense. He did not know what had happened. He walked toward the house and overheard village kids saying that Latif Rehman’s mother had passed away. Latif is Rafiq’s older brother, and he knew then that something terrible had happened.

He ran toward the house. Neighbors and brothers told him not to go to the house. They said come to the mosque where they were having a burial prayer. Rafiq insisted on seeing his mother’s face before she was laid to rest. They told him he did not want to see her face. The drone had left her in pieces. Whatever was left had been picked up and put into a coffin.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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