Pakistan and the world rely on brave men and women like reporter Saleem Shahzad, who was recently killed under mysterious circumstances
Pakistani journalists Qamar Yousafzai and Syed Saleem Shahzad in a 2006 photo from the Pakistan-Afghan border / Reuters
In 2005, U.S. and Pakistani intelligence and military personnel were tracking Abu Hamza Rabia, a senior Al Qaeda official involved in the 2003 assassination plots against Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. Eventually, Rabia was tracked to the Mosaki village in the North Waziristan province near the Afghan border. On November 5, a CIA-controlled Predator drone fired one or more Hellfire missiles at a house in Mosaki, reportedly killing Rabia's wife and daughter and six others. Rabia was wounded, but narrowly missed being killed.
Three weeks later, Rabia was tracked to the village of Haisori. On December 1, at 1:45 a.m., a Predator fired Hellfire missiles at a mud-brick compound in Haisori, killing Rabia, a Syrian bodyguard, and the seventeen-year old son and eight-year old nephew of the owner of the house. At the blast site, villagers uncovered pieces of shrapnel bearing the Hellfire's designation "AGM-114," the words "guided missile," and the initials "U.S." To conceal American involvement, the Pakistani government created a flimsy cover story that Rabia blew himself up experimenting with explosives.
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We only know that the villagers of Haisori found physical evidence of the American drone strike because freelance journalist Hayatullah Khan filed a story and photographs with the Urdu-language daily Ausaf, with the pictures further distributed around the world by the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA). (You can see Khan's photographs of the blast site on the EPA website by entering "Hayatullah" in the image search.)