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Blowback: Pakistan Taliban Say Killing of Foreign Hikers Retaliation for US Drone Strikes

Jon Queally, staff writer

The body of one of the 9 foreign tourists killed near the Nanga Parbat peak. (Photo: Reuters/Sohail Shahzad)

A spokesman for the Taliban movement in Pakistan on Monday publicly claimed the group's responsibility for the killing of nine foreign hikers in the Himalayas over the weekend, saying that the massacre was a direct result of a US drone strike last month along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.

"We did it and we claim responsibility for this attack," said Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan in a phone call to Agence France-Presse.

"One of our factions, Junood ul-Hifsa, did it. It is to avenge the killing of Maulvi Wali ur-Rehman," he said.

Ehsan was explicit about the motivation for the killings by adding, "We want to convey to the world that this is our reply to US drone attacks."

As Al-Jazeera reports, ur-Rheman "died on May 29 in a US drone attack on a house in North Waziristan, the most notorious Taliban and al-Qaeda stronghold in Pakistan on the Afghan border."

Foreign policy experts  have argued extensively and repeatedly in recent years that the use of unmanned drones to bomb civilian populations—even as they purport to target specific military targets—would inevitably increase the prospects for violent blowback from those who feel victimized by such attacks.

Additionally troubling was the announcement by the Pakistan Taliban was that a specialized unit was created in order to carry out the attack which has left many jittery in Pakistan that tourists and other foreign nationals may now be the focus of an ongoing campaign of retaliatory violence.


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