Back in full swing: US drone strike kills four militants in N Waziristan

By AFP
Published: January 24, 2012

The victims are thought to be of Turkmen origin. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

MIRAMSHAH: 

A US drone fired missiles into a vehicle, killing four militants in North Waziristan on Monday, security officials said.

It was only the third such US attack reported in the country so far this year, following a moratorium after US firepower inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, plunging relations to an all-time low.

The attack took place at Degan village, some 25 kilometres west of Miramshah, security officials said.

“A US drone fired two missiles into a vehicle and four militants were killed,” a senior security official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

Local intelligence officials said the dead militants were from Turkmenistan, but their exact identities were not immediately known.

“The vehicle burst into flames after the missiles hit. Militants have cordoned the area and (are) taking out the bodies,” a local official told AFP.

Resumption of cooperation?

A Pakistan security source told Reuters that the Jan 10 strike, which targeted senior al Qaeda leader Aslam Awan, and a follow-up attack two days later, were joint operations.

There are unconfirmed reports that Hakimullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistani Taliban, was killed in the Jan 12 drone strike, but many in the American and Pakistan intelligence communities doubt this.

The use of unmanned armed aircraft over Pakistan has been a sore point with the public and politicians, who describe them as violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties.

Sixty-four US missile strikes were reported in Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt last year, down from 101 reported in 2010 according to AFP tallies. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2012.

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