15 killed in two drone strikes in N Waziristan
IANS & AFP
ISLAMABAD AT least 15 suspected militants were killed on Tuesday in two drone strikes in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region bordering Afghanistan, media reports said.
In the first strike, drones fired two missiles at a vehicle in Uthghalai village of North Waziristan, killing eight people and wounding two others, Xinhua reported.
In the second strike, seven people were killed in South Waziristan’s Sara Khora village.
The drone also fired two missiles at a vehicle suspected to be carrying militants.
The identities of the slain people in both strikes were not available.
At least 76 people have reportedly been killed in drone strikes this year.
Pakistani warlord Maulvi Nazir’s loyalists, two of them commanders, were attacked in the remote Drey Nishtar area used to slip across the border from South Waziristan into Afghanistan to attack US-led NATO troops.
Waziristan is the most notorious stronghold of militants in Pakistan’s semiautonomous northwestern tribal belt that Washington considers the premier hub of Taliban and Al Qaeda plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan. “The target of the attack was fighters of commander Maulvi Nazir. A total of eight fighters were killed in this attack,” one Pakistani official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
Security officials said US drones fired up to four missiles into a vehicle travelling through the far-flung and mountainous area.
“Informers told us that two senior commanders of Maulvi Nazir were among the dead. Both commanders, Amir Hamza and Shamsullah, were considered important for Nazir,” the Pakistani official added.
Nazir sends fighters into Afghanistan to attack US and NATO troops, but is considered pro-Pakistan because he does not attack Pakistani troops bogged down fighting homegrown Taliban insurgents in the tribal belt. US diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks in late 2010 showed that Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders privately supported US drone attacks, despite public condemnation in a country where the US alliance is hugely unpopular. It was unclear whether Tuesday’s drone strike would have any immediate impact on Nazir’s policy of not attacking Pakistani troops.