Unmanned war: US drones stalk Waziristan militants

Published: August 20, 2012

DEATH COUNT: 13 is the number of suspected militants killed in three drone strikes in the North Waziristan tribal region since Saturday. PHOTO: FILE

DERA ISMAIL KHAN / MIRANSHAH: 

In a fresh surge in US drone strikes in the tribal regions, pilotless aircraft carried out three sorties in North Waziristan Agency during the past 24 hours, killing over a dozen suspected militants.

On Sunday – the second day of Eidul Fitr in the region – US drones targeted suspected Taliban militants travelling in two vehicles in the Shawal area, security officials said.

“US drones fired four missiles on two militant vehicles in the early hours of Sunday, killing four militants,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

Another security official confirmed the attack and casualties but said it was not immediately clear if any senior militant commander was among the fatalities.

The militants were travelling from Miramshah, the main town of North Waziristan, when their vehicles were struck in the Mana Gurbaz area of Shawal, a local official told The Express Tribune.

The targeted militants belonged to the group of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, an influential Taliban commander who is believed to be hosting the deadly Haqqani network in the Waziristan region. Hours later, another drone struck in the same area, killing another three suspected insurgents. The dead, according to a source, were believed to be members of the Punjabi Taliban.

Residents saw up to five drones flying over the thickly-forested Shawal area at the time of the attack.

“At least two militants were killed and two others wounded when the US drone fired two missiles at the site of the earlier strike where militants were retrieving bodies from the wreckage of the two destroyed vehicles,” a security official told AFP.

The latest attacks were in the same region where a drone strike on June 4 killed 15 insurgents, including senior al Qaeda figure Abu Yahya al Libi.

It was the fourth drone attack since the start of Ramazan and the second since ISI chief Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam visited Washington earlier this month.

Lt Gen Islam’s talks with his CIA counterpart were said to have focused on drone strikes.

On Saturday, a US drone hit a compound in Shawal, killing six militants.

The foreign ministry strongly protested the strike, saying that Islamabad “has consistently maintained that these attacks are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

(Additional input from AFP)

Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2012.

Reader Comments (6)

  • Haris Chaudhry
    Aug 20, 2012 - 4:12AM

    Long live the drones !

    Recommend

  • Caramelized_Onion
    Aug 20, 2012 - 5:27AM

    Drone’s only stalk anti-American militants. If they are really serious about curbing terrorism why don’t they ever target TTP and it’s cronies? Oh right, because TTP’s strategic objectives are the same as India’s, Afghanistan’s and the US’s, chaos in Pakistan.

    Recommend

  • numbersnumbers
    Aug 20, 2012 - 6:40AM

    Time for the Pakistani Army to PERMANENTLY move into North Waziristan and region to MAINTAIN THE SOVEREIGNTY AND TERRITORIAL INTEGRITY OF PAKISTAN!

    Recommend

  • Babe
    Aug 20, 2012 - 8:21AM

    The terrorists should not have ended Ramadan on Friday and celebrate Eid one day in advance. In fact they should have celebrated Eid on Monday to live for another two days without the dreaded drones. They are not that smart after all. They US spared them in Ramadan and they ended the month quickly!Recommend

  • Passivevoices
    Aug 20, 2012 - 8:28PM

    According to international law, it is illegal to use drones to kill non-combatant civilians. As per American law, it is illegal to drone a US-born terrorist. American taxpayers, whose hard-earned dollars are used in war efforts, and particularly in drone killings, are generally very sensitive to sense killings and destruction. Since 9/11, they are being fed on the phobia of America’s security. The US public is internationally naïve geographical location of the US and is generally unaware of the political and military developments around the globe. They believe what is being fed to them by the American establishment through a obliging media. The indiscriminate killing by the drones is now presented as a business case; the drones enterprise is cost-effective; it ensures killing of terrorists without losing a single American life. Those killed alongside the terrorists are a normal business loss, a collateral damage, which can be written off the books. Read more at: http://passivevoices.wordpress.com/2012/08/20/drone-economics-a-business-case-for-the-killing-machines/

    Recommend

  • reasonable
    Aug 21, 2012 - 12:13PM

    @Caramelized_Onion:
    Drone’s only stalk anti-American militants. If they are really serious about curbing terrorism why don’t they ever target TTP and it’s cronies? Oh right, because TTP’s strategic objectives are the same as India’s, Afghanistan’s and the US’s, chaos in Pakistan.

    And Pakistani jets killed Hakimulla Mehsud!!!!

    Recommend

More in Pakistan