Taliban militants led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur said they had collected wreckage of the destroyed drone and would provide its pictures to the media on Sunday.
Pakistani security officials, however, said they did not know what caused the drone to crash. “A drone aircraft was seen going down in Machikhel and flames were seen,” a Pakistani intelligence official said. “We don’t know what caused it to go down. We are investigating.”
Another official said the drone had gone down in an area controlled by militants, about 30 km from the Afghan border. “The local Taliban have the wreckage,” he said. The drone campaign has angered Pakistanis, who say it is a violation of sovereignty and causes many civilian casualties. The United States says the strikes are very accurate and the number of civilian deaths is minimal.
Meanwhile, a US official denied Taliban claims that the militants shot down the US drone.
The campaign was paused following a Nov 26, 2011, attack by NATO helicopters on two Pakistani border posts that left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead.