'I want to live with my family'


Islamabad, Pakistan --Abir Mohammed, a refugee from Bajaur, says that the battles that raged in his home province since 2008 have dramatically changed his life. We met him in a crowded Islamabad café where he politely approached customers, offering to shine their shoes. He isn't accustomed to shoeshine work. But he needs to earn as much money as possible before reuniting with family members who await him, near Peshawar, in a tent encampment for displaced people.

Formerly, he lived with his wife, his five children, his mother and four brothers in a home near the Afghanistan border. "We were very satisfied with our life," says Abir Mohammed. "My brothers and I cultivated wheat crops and maintained orchards." His land is full of rich soil. "But, in these days," says Abir, "due to disasters and lack of water and electricity, there is no chance of cultivating crops."

Drones and democracy

American drone aircraft fired 18 missiles at militants in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region [May 11], killing at least 14 fighters and wounding 4, a security official and a resident of the area said. … The unusually intense drone attack was the third since a failed car bombing in Times Square 10 days ago.
--"Drone Strikes Pound West Pakistan," By JANE PERLEZ and PIR ZUBAIR SHAH, The New York Times, May 11, 2010

"Two U.S. missile strikes Tuesday in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal region of North Waziristan killed at least 24 suspected militants. ... Suspected U.S. drones have carried out scores of missile strikes in the Waziristan region in recent years, killing hundreds of alleged militants."
--"US Missile Strikes Kill 24 in NW Pakistan," by Ayaz Gul, Voice of America, May 11, 2010