In Pakistan Air Strike Blitz, Who Was Killed? 'Hardcore Terrorists' or Women and Children?

'Precision aerial strikes' pound North Waziristan early Wednesday.

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Military strikes with the goal of targeting "terrorists" appear to have once again resulted in civilian casualties.

Air strikes conducted early Wednesday by the Pakistani military pounded North Waziristan and were touted as killing scores of people described as militants and terrorists.

"Confirmed militant hide-outs were targeted early morning today in North Waziristan through precision aerial strikes," the New York Timesquotes an anonymous senior security official as saying.

"Sixty hardcore terrorists, including some of the important commanders and foreigners, were also killed in the strikes and around 30 were injured," according to an official statement from the Pakistani military. "Therefore [there are] minimum chances of civilian casualties," the statement added.

Yet the strikes likely included "collateral damage."

One person from the area toldCNN that the air strikes killed as many 20 civilians, and the New York Times reported:

Local residents, however, said the dead also included women and children. [...]

[L]ocal tribesmen said that at least 10 civilians were killed in the strikes.

From NBC News:

[T]wo residents of the nearby town of Mir Ali, told NBC News via telephone that women, children and the elderly had died in the assault.

From Agence France-Presse:

Local intelligence officials and residents said civilians were among the wounded.

A spokesperson for a Taliban commander in the area condemned the attack and said the group "cannot remain silent over bombardment on people."

As the area has been described as a "stronghold" for terrorists, North Waziristan has also been the frequent target of U.S. drone strikes.

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