U.S. Drone Strike Kills 17 in Northwest Pakistan

إقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية W460

A U.S. drone attack struck a compound of the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network in Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt early Wednesday, killing at least 17 militants, Pakistani officials said.

Security officials told Agence France Presse that Afghan and Pakistani militants were among the dead at the compound in the town of Miranshah, but that there was no immediate confirmation of any high-value target.

Unmanned aircraft fired four missiles into the compound in the main market area of the main town of North Waziristan district, Pakistan's most notorious hub of Islamist militants.

US drone strikes are rarely reported in built-up areas of the semi-autonomous tribal belt and officials said the aircraft flew over the market area for hours before striking.

"The death toll in drone strike has risen to 17," a security official based in North Waziristan told AFP.

Intelligence officials confirmed the toll and said the compound belonged to militants from the Haqqani network, which the United States has blamed for some of the deadliest and most high-profile attacks on Western and government targets in Afghanistan.

It was the deadliest US drone strike reported in Pakistan since 18 insurgents were killed on the border between North Waziristan and the tribal district of Orakzai on October 11, 2012.

Pakistan on Wednesday condemned the drone strike as a violation of sovereignty, as it does routinely despite leaked US diplomatic cables that showed leaders allegedly agreed to them in private.

"The government of Pakistan has consistently maintained that drone strikes are counter-productive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Washington views drone strikes as a vital tool in the fight against Taliban and al-Qaida militants holed up in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.

But there has been a marked decline in the number of drone strikes reported in Pakistan in the last two years.

According to an AFP tally, 14 reported strikes have killed around 90 people so far this year, compared to 101 in 2010 that killed more than 670 people.

Wednesday's attack came as the BBC broadcast an interview with the Afghan army chief of staff in which he claimed U.S. drone strikes are "never used against Haqqani or Afghan Taliban".

General Sher Mohammad Karimi alleged Pakistan could end the nearly 12-year Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan "in weeks" if it were serious about peace.

The interview laid bare the mistrust between Kabul and Islamabad as the U.S.-led NATO combat mission prepares to leave Afghanistan next year and the West pushes for peace talks with the Taliban.

Britain's Bureau of Investigative Journalism says drone attacks in Pakistan have killed up to 3,549 people since 2004 including up to 890 civilians.

Comments 3
Missing --karim_m2 03 July 2013, 10:56

My condolences to the February 14 Saudi-Wahabi coalition, including the FM, Kataeb, PSP, and LF, for the loss of their treasured Al Qaeda terrorist allies and brethren.

Missing helicopter 03 July 2013, 22:52

On behalf of M14 I add my voice to yours... good riddance, they remind us so much of your Hezb. They are your brothers from a different mother.

Default-user-icon kafantaris (Guest) 03 July 2013, 16:56

Semiautonomous Taliban regions and Pakistan sovereignty cannot coexist. Either the country reigns in on its militants, or affected outsiders will continue to do so.
Besides, with the Taliban weakened Pakistan can bring central government to more of its lands. Otherwise, the semiautonomous regions will overrun neighboring towns -- one after another.
Has Pakistan forgotten that the Taliban did just that three years ago?
Or that that they have been doing no different in Afghanistan for decades?
The Taliban is the hydra of both countries and both countries need technology and help to cut the hydra heads off.