Kidnapped Anti-Drone Activist Freed in Pakistan

Kareem Khan, who was taken from his home earlier this month, is set to testify about CIA drone strikes.

Kareem Khan (center) was released Friday after being kidnapped earlier this month. He is set to testify in Europe about the CIA drone attack that killed his family.
National Journal
Alex Brown
Add to Briefcase
Alex Brown
Feb. 14, 2014, 10:37 a.m.

A Pakistani act­iv­ist who lost a broth­er and a son in a CIA drone at­tack has been freed after a mys­ter­i­ous ab­duc­tion earli­er this month.

Kareem Khan — who had been set to testi­fy in Europe about drone war­fare — was taken from his home Feb. 5 by nearly 20 men, eight of whom were in po­lice uni­form. “We be­lieve it likely to have been agen­cies con­nec­ted to the gov­ern­ment, po­lice, coun­terter­ror­ism force, or mil­it­ary, in­tel­li­gence ser­vices,” emailed Za­rmeeneh Rahim, a law­yer for the Found­a­tion for Fun­da­ment­al Rights, which rep­res­ents Khan. “His work is an em­bar­rass­ment to the Pakistani gov­ern­ment and the mil­it­ary, and they have ample reas­on to si­lence him.”

Khan was beaten re­peatedly on the soles of his feet, in­ter­rog­ated about his con­tact with drone vic­tims, and driv­en around blind­folded. On Fri­day, his captors threw him from a van after or­der­ing him not to speak with the me­dia.

Al­though the kid­nap­ping was ap­par­ently in­ten­ded to in­tim­id­ate Khan from speak­ing out, Rahim said he plans to leave for Europe Sat­urday as planned.

In 2010, Khan sued the CIA, ur­ging Pakistani courts to ex­ecute the agency’s Is­lamabad sta­tion chief for his role in the drone at­tack that killed his fam­ily mem­bers. U.S. gov­ern­ment lead­ers said the strike was tar­geted at a Taliban com­mand­er they be­lieved to be in the house. Khan claimed he did not know the com­mand­er and that he was not in the home at the time.

Khan — who is slated to speak with Ger­man, Dutch, and Brit­ish au­thor­it­ies about the drone strikes — is also su­ing the Pakistani gov­ern­ment for fail­ing to in­vest­ig­ate the strike that killed his fam­ily. Rahim said he is try­ing to change per­cep­tions of his re­gion, Waziristan, to pre­vent fur­ther vi­ol­ence. “Even with­in Pakistan, there is a lot of mis­in­form­a­tion, mis­un­der­stand­ing about the people of Waziristan, their pre­sumed sup­port for ter­ror­ists,” Rahim said. “The people of the tri­bal areas are seen as either Pakistani Taliban, or their sup­port­ers, and seen as in­vit­ing or de­serving of the vi­ol­ence that is vis­ited upon them daily.”

What We're Following See More »
Trump Draws Laughs, Boos at Al Smith Dinner
9 hours ago

After a lighthearted beginning, Donald Trump's appearance at the Al Smith charity dinner in New York "took a tough turn as the crowd repeatedly booed the GOP nominee for his sharp-edged jokes about his rival Hillary Clinton."

McMullin Leads in New Utah Poll
16 hours ago

Evan McMul­lin came out on top in a Emer­son Col­lege poll of Utah with 31% of the vote. Donald Trump came in second with 27%, while Hillary Clin­ton took third with 24%. Gary John­son re­ceived 5% of the vote in the sur­vey.

Quinnipiac Has Clinton Up by 7
16 hours ago

A new Quin­nipi­ac Uni­versity poll finds Hillary Clin­ton lead­ing Donald Trump by seven percentage points, 47%-40%. Trump’s “lead among men and white voters all but” van­ished from the uni­versity’s early Oc­to­ber poll. A new PPRI/Brook­ings sur­vey shows a much bigger lead, with Clinton up 51%-36%. And an IBD/TIPP poll leans the other way, showing a vir­tu­al dead heat, with Trump tak­ing 41% of the vote to Clin­ton’s 40% in a four-way match­up.

Trump: I’ll Accept the Results “If I Win”
17 hours ago
Who Spoke More During the Final Debate?
21 hours ago

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.