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Pakistan drone victim to sue US for $500m

30 November 10 11:06
US Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, file image

A Pakistani tribesman plans to sue the CIA for $500m (£320m), claiming it is responsible for the deaths of his son and brother in a drone air strike.

Karim Khan, from North Waziristan, said his lawyer had notified the US embassy in Islamabad of the legal action.

The villager says no militants were in his home when it was struck by missiles on 19 December 2009.

It is thought to be the first time a Pakistani citizen has filed a compensation case against the US.

The tribal region has been the focus of US drone attacks since August 2008.

Hundreds of militants and civilians have died in the raids.

On the border with Afghanistan, the area is a known sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaeda.

'No justice'

Mr Khan, who lives in the village of Machi Khel, near North Waziristan's main town of Mir Ali, told the BBC: "My son and brother were killed in a US drone attack on my home.

"Both were civilians and employees of the local government administration. A man who was working at my home was also killed in the attack."

Mr Khan, a freelance journalist, said no foreigner or militant was in his home at the time of the attacks.

"For the past year, I've been knocking on the doors of the local political administration, and the government, but have received no justice," he said.

"Therefore I have now decided to take this legal remedy."

Mr Khan said his lawyer had sent notices to US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, CIA director Leon Panetta and the agency's Islamabad station chief, Jonathan Banks.

If he did not receive a satisfactory response in 14 days, he would automatically file a civil case in Islamabad against the respondents, Mr Khan added.

The US does not comment on individual missile strikes, although the drone attacks have been officially recognised as part of the war in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

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