08 October 2010

Rogue Army Executions in Pakistan?

Is it really an Army unit executing people in the cell phone video from Pakistan? Or is it someone trying to pin the blame on the Pak army?

Pakistan's army chief ordered an inquiry Friday into video clips that show men in soldiers' uniforms gunning down a group of bound and blindfolded detainees. The footage has raised concern over possible extrajudicial killings by a military that receives billions in U.S. aid.

The two clips were apparently shot by cell phones and have been circulating on the Internet. The footage is grainy and shows no time stamps, and part of the army inquiry's mission is to determine whether those shown in uniform were actually soldiers, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani's statement said.

"It is not expected of a professional army to engage in excesses against the people whom it is trying to guard against the scourge of terrorism," the general said, though he cautioned that militants had in the past posed as soldiers.

It was unclear where the clips were first posted. The SITE Intelligence Group, a U.S.-based organization that monitors militant websites, reported about two weeks ago they had appeared on an extremist site. The group said they were posted by someone who claimed the footage was from Pakistan's Swat Valley, the scene of a major army offensive against Taliban militants in 2009.

The Pakistani army has been accused of carrying out extrajudicial killings in Swat ever since launching the offensive in May 2009 — allegations it denies.

By: Brant

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