US drones kill 13 'militants'
A suspected US drone strike on a Pakistani Taliban compound in North Waziristan tribal region killed at least four alleged militants on Sunday, reports The Guardian quoting officials.
Another suspected US drone strike in Afghanistan, meanwhile, killed nine alleged Pakistani Taliban fighters in a rural village near the mountainous border between the two countries, a local official said.
In Pakistan, two missiles fired from a drone hit a compound in the village of Khara Tanga in the Datta Khel area, two Pakistani intelligence officials said. The strike also wounded two militants, they said. The officials said Pakistani Taliban linked to commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur used the compound, but it wasn’t immediately known whether Bahadur was there at the time of the strike.
“There is (suspicion) that an important commander was within the compound when missiles struck but this is yet to be verified,” one of the intelligence officials said.
Both the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to journalists.
North Waziristan is home to both local and al-Qaida-linked militants. The Pakistani army is presently carrying out operations in both parts of Waziristan.
On Saturday, Pakistani soldiers killed top al-Qaida operative Adnan Shukrijumah who was indicted in the US for his alleged involvement in a plot to bomb New York’s subway system. A military official said that Shukrijumah had escaped the military operation in North Waziristan and was hiding in South Waziristan, where he was killed along with two other suspected militants.
In Afghanistan, the strike on Saturday afternoon hit the village of Shiltan in Kunar province’s Shigal district, killing a senior commander of the insurgent group and also wounding a fighter, provincial police chief General Abdul Habib Sayedkhili said. Sayedkhili said there were no civilian casualties from the strike.
There was no confirmation from Nato forces about the strike. Washington long has used drone strikes to kill militants in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan, and US officials rarely comment on the covert drone program run by the CIA.
The Taliban had no immediate comment about the strike. On Saturday, officials said two other suspected US drone strikes killed four alleged Taliban fighters in Laghman province.
Taliban fighters, al-Qaida militants and other insurgents frequently cross the border to launch attacks on local troops and Nato forces. Insurgent attacks are on the rise across Afghanistan as Nato forces plan to wind down their combat mission in the country at the end of this month.
In a separate attack, a Taliban insurgent threw a grenade into a wedding party Saturday night in Balkh province, killing four people and wounding 13, police spokesman Shirjan Duran said. The motive for the attack wasn’t immediately clear.