Five suspected militants were killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan on Monday, officials said. The strike comes just a day after nine people, including a Taliban ‘commander’, were killed.
Intelligence officials said Monday’s attack occurred in the Khushali area. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorised to talk to the media, the Associated Press reported.
This is the fourth drone attack in the North Waziristan Agency over the past week. The US refuses to acknowledge the attacks publicly, but officials have said privately that they have killed several senior Taliban and al Qaeda militants over the years.
Earlier in the day, officials said a local Taliban ‘commander’ and two foreign militants were among the nine people killed on Sunday. Intelligence officials initially said the attack in Khaddi village killed six people but raised that number on Monday.
The slain insurgent leader was identified only as Mustafa. The officials said he was linked with Sadiq Noor, a key Taliban figure in North Waziristan.
Nationalities of foreign fighters were also unclear. Three local tribesmen sheltering the militants were also identified as among the dead. However, officials said there were no civilian casualties, asserting that seven of the dead were Noor’s subordinates and two were foreign fighters.
Unmanned American drones have launched more than 100 missile strikes this year on targets in Pakistan, roughly double the number in all of 2009.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2010.