Five killed as US drone targets Haqqani commander

PESHAWAR - Five people were reported to have been killed Monday in a suspected US drone attack in Kurram Agency bordering Afghanistan.

According to local sources, dozens of people were feared injured in the attack carried out on a house in the Ghuz Ghari area. They said at least five missiles were fired at the house.

AFP reported an official as saying the target was suspected militant Abu Bakar, commander of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.

Kurram Agency Political Agent Baseer Khan Wazir told Geo TV the strike was carried out in Pakistani territory, six kilometres from the Afghan border.

Local people complained that ‘Afghan fighter jets pounded’ some areas. It was not confirmed from independent sources due to weak communication signals.

On September 15, a suspected US drone strike killed three people and injured another two in Kurram Agency.

In March, two people were killed in Lower Kurram Agency in what was called the first drone attack after US President Donald Trump took over, followed by a similar strike in North Waziristan in April.

The Monday’s attack occurred a day after a Pakistani captain and three troops embraced martyrdom in a blast, as they searched those linked to the kidnapping of a US-Canadian family freed last week.

Also last week, a high-level US team visited Pakistan and met country’s civilian and military leadership to clear the air and pave the way for a meaningful future partnership, ahead of the expected visits of Trump’s top aide Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

Their visit was followed by President Donald Trump’s remarks about “a real relationship with Pakistan” moments after he hailed the release of the hostages from Taliban captivity.

He said their release was a “positive moment” for US relations with Pakistan. Trump also praised Pakistan for its willingness to “do more to provide security in the region” and said the release suggests other “countries are starting to respect the United States of America once again.”

The use of US drones has dwindled dramatically in recent years in Pakistan, where strikes have proven extremely controversial with the public and rights groups. But the US is believed to have ordered at least two other drone attacks this year.

Outlining the US policy on Afghanistan in August, Trump lambasted Pakistan for sheltering “agents of chaos” and suggested ties with Islamabad would be adjusted immediately.

Much of Washington’s anger has been directed at the Haqqani network, based in the border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan, which the Pentagon has long accused of having ties to Pakistan’s military establishment.

Islamabad has repeatedly denied claims of being soft on militancy, accusing the US of ignoring thousands who have been killed in Pakistan and billions spent fighting extremists.


ePaper - Nawaiwaqt