US drone kills five militants in Miranshah: Official

By AFP
Published: March 16, 2011

Security official says militant compound was targeted.

MIRANSHAH: A US drone strike in Datta Khel on Wednesday killed at least five militants, security officials said, as the covert campaign steps up in the border region.

The strike took place in Datta Khel town, 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district, which borders Afghanistan and is a stronghold of al Qaeda-linked Taliban militants.

“A US drone fired three missiles at a militant compound in Datta Khel. Five militants were killed in this attack,” one intelligence official told AFP.

A security official in northwestern Peshawar city told AFP a militant compound had been targeted.

“We are not clear about the identities of the militants,” he said.

The US drones, which operate with the tacit consent of Islamabad but fuel anti-US sentiment throughout the country, have mounted increasing attacks lately, pummeling the area believed to hide key Taliban-linked militants.

Missile attacks doubled in the area last year as the covert campaign was stepped up, with more than 100 drone strikes killing over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009, according to an AFP tally.

The last strike was on Monday when at least three militants were killed, according to security officials, in a US missile strike on a vehicle in a tribal town near the Afghan border.

Most have been concentrated in North Waziristan, where the United States wants the Pakistan military to launch a ground offensive as soon as possible.

Despite pressure from Washington, Pakistan has stalled on launching such an offensive in North Waziristan, saying its troops are already overstretched.

Wednesday’s attack was launched hours before a Pakistani court is scheduled to resume the hearing of a CIA contractor in a double murder case that has ruptured relations between the United States and its wary nuclear-armed ally.

The hearing in the murder case against American Raymond Davis is due to take place in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore, where he is being held, as US authorities continue to press for his release on grounds of diplomatic immunity.

The United States does not confirm the drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy them in the region.

The missile strikes cause widespread resentment among the Pakistani public, who see military action on their soil as a breach of national sovereignty.

But Islamabad tacitly cooperates with the bombing campaign, which US officials say has severely weakened al Qaeda’s leadership and killed high-value targets including the former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

US officials say Pakistan-based militants are helping to escalate the war in Afghanistan, putting up a deadly fight against 140,000 US-led Nato troops there and seeking to bring down the Western-backed government in Kabul.

Reader Comments (7)

  • Blunt!
    Mar 16, 2011 - 12:18PM

    Good job! People of Pakistan should be thankful to the US for wiping out the militants from their face. In-fact they should allow the likes of CIA agents into their territory for handling of the cases like the frequent assassination of their ministers as they themselves are clearly incapable of tackling.Recommend

  • Jeddy
    Mar 16, 2011 - 12:23PM

    Who was on the ground to confirm this? How did he relay the message?Recommend

  • Sumair
    Mar 16, 2011 - 2:02PM

    They kill 1 so called militant to create 10s of hardcore militants!! Our authorities are sleeping.Recommend

  • Asghar
    Mar 16, 2011 - 6:53PM

    Raymond Davis released on one front. Drone attacks continue on the other front. sigh. I wonder when we will stand up for our own rights. But i think the problem lies in the people, specially our country’s powerful elite. They are happy as long as the Americans keep them happy with the IMF aid, the weapons and the ammunition to fight their war. Recommend

  • Cautious
    Mar 16, 2011 - 10:40PM

    Perhaps it’s time for Pakistan to clean up it’s own mess – quit allowing your territory to be a safe haven for terrorist.Recommend

  • Mar 17, 2011 - 12:53AM

    I am at loss to understand when USA does not make any drone attack announcement but Pakistan immediately announces the number of drone used, wheather left or still flying, number of missile fired, nature of the target/s, number of militant killed and wounded and ethnicity of the militants. Is not it very odd ?Recommend

  • aftab
    Mar 18, 2011 - 8:45PM

    shame shame on the soldiers and pakistan para military forces.the slogan of forces is we are the defenders of pakistan………………..if they are defenders …then y they should not fight………..Recommend

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