US kept Pak Army's extra-judicial killings in Swat secret

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London, Dec 1 (ANI): The United States refused to comment publicly on the culture of revenge in the Pakistan Army resulted in hundreds of extra-judicial killings in Swat Valley and tribal belt of the country since 2009, according to a secret US assessment last year.

US diplomats voiced private concerns about the killings, but deemed it was better not to comment publicly in order to allow the Pakistani army to take action on its own.

Last October, one year after the assessment was sent to Washington, US officials made moves to sanction several Pakistani military units accused of the killings. Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani has also launched an investigation into the matter.

"A growing body of evidence is lending credence to allegations of human rights abuses by Pakistan security force" during fighting in the Swat valley and the tribal belt, US Ambassador Anne Patterson wrote in September 2009.

She said the most worrisome allegations concerned murders in which both regular army and paramilitary frontier corps soldiers who are drawn from the Pashtun tribes were implicated, The Guardian quotyed WikiLeaks documents, as saying.

Patterson said cultural traditions meant revenge killings were "key to maintaining a unit's honour", while commanding officers complained that Pakistan's weak judicial system was incapable of prosecuting detainees.

The cables, which were put in the public domain by the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, shows that Pakistani commanders feared that if detainees were handed over to the courts and formally charged, they would be released, placing army and frontier corps troops at risk.

An estimated 5,000 detainees picked up during anti-Taliban operations in Malakand division, which includes Swat, and Bajaur and Mohmand tribal agencies, along the Afghan border were at risk, she said. (ANI)

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