PESHAWAR / ISLAMABAD: A US drone fired missiles in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region on Wednesday, Express News reported.
The strikes, which occurred early morning, reportedly killed at least two suspected militants.
An official of the political administration from Khyber Agency told The Express Tribune that a US drone fired three missiles at around 8:30am in Nazyan district of Afghanistan, targeting the suspected hideouts of militants.
The official, however, did not confirm the casualties and the number of injured in the attack but independent sources said that two suspected militants were killed and several others were injured.
Afghan militants and officials said that the drone attack targeted Pakistan’s banned Lashkar-e-Islam (LeI) militant group, Afghan Taliban as well as smugglers.
There has been no word on the attack from the Lashkar and Afghan Taliban till the filing of this report.
An Afghan official in Nangarhar province confirmed the early morning strikes in Nazyan and told The Express Tribune that they were in the process of confirming whose drones or fighter jets carried out the attack.
The official at the Nangarhar Governor’s office, requesting to stay anonymous, said they were also collecting information about casualties.
The three strikes
The spokesperson of second armed resistance movement Hizb-e-Islami Afghanistan, Haroon Zarghoon, who is familiar with the area, told The Express Tribune that the drone struck three areas in Nazyan, adding that the site of the attack was just two or three kilometers from the Pakistani border.
Zarghoon said that the Hizb-e-Islami fighters in the region informed him about the drone firing missiles at two locations in the Nakhtar Nau area of Nazyan targeting the Afghan Taliban and a group of smugglers who had been using an alternate route for bringing goods to Pakistan on foot.
He further added that several Taliban members were injured in the strike.
The Pakistani and Afghan smugglers had been mules for cross border smuggling on a narrow road at Nakhtar Nau but recent clashes between the Afghan Taliban and LeI had closed the road.
The third strike is believed to have hit LeI militants in the Spina Zai area of the district.
LeI has recently been involved in clashes with the Afghan Taliban and locals for control. Some Afghans say that LeI fighters had expelled the Afghan Taliban from some of the areas. Some sources also say that the Lashkar’s leader Mangal Bagh also operates from the same area.
An Afghan journalist from Jalalabad told The Express Tribune that he heard the drones fire missiles when the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban were holding a ‘jirga’ for reconciliation as they also had some disputes.
The journalist, requesting anonymity, said Lashkar had also some problems with the locals in recent months.
The number of deaths in Pakistan tribal region could not be verified due to remoteness of the mountainous region.
The last drone strike in Pakistan took place on December 26, 2013, killing four people.