A US drone strike killed at least three militants and destroyed a compound in Darpakhel Sarai, just outside Miramshah the main town of North Waziristan on Thursday, officials said.
“A drone fired two missiles on a militant compound. At least three militants were killed,” a senior security official told AFP.
He said those killed were loyal to Jamil Haqqani, an important Afghan commander in the Haqqani network whom US officials said was killed in a drone strike in North Waziristan on October 13.
A US official at the time named him as Janbaz Zadran, saying he “played a central role in helping the Haqqani network attack US and coalition targets in Kabul and southeastern Afghanistan”.
Other intelligence officials in Miramshah and Peshawar confirmed Thursday’s missile strike and casualties.
Three other wounded militants were pulled out of the rubble and taken to the hospital, witnesses said. One of them was carried out on a cot by seven to eight militants enveloped in dust.
Militants cordoned off the area and were preventing anyone from accessing the destroyed compound, they said.
A local intelligence official said about 10 militants had been inside the compound but that some had managed to escape.
The latest attack is the 61st US drone strike reported in Pakistan so far this year.
NATO to step up pressure
Nato vowed on Thursday to put “severe military pressure” on the Haqqani network, suspected of being behind recent attacks on Western troops in Afghanistan. Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that despite the violence seen at the weekend, the NATO mission was heading in the right direction and insurgent attacks were down in the July-September period, compared with last year.
“Spectacular attacks capture the headlines, but they don’t capture more ground,” he told a news briefing. “And the bigger picture is different: overall enemy attacks are decreasing and the enemy has been weakened.”
Rasmussen said Nato was determined to put a stop to attacks on its soldiers by the Haqqani network. “To that end we will keep the Haqqani network under severe military pressure,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 4th, 2011.