Sanctuaries targeted: US drone attacks kill 48 militants

Published: July 13, 2011
A US drone targeted a house and a vehicle in Datta Khel with 10 missiles killing eight people. PHOTO: AFP

A US drone targeted a house and a vehicle in Datta Khel with 10 missiles killing eight people. PHOTO: AFP


A volley of US missile strikes killed at least 48 militants after destroying their compounds in North and South Waziristan agencies on Tuesday, local intelligence officials said.

It was one of the largest death tolls to date in the controversial air bombing campaign.

Coming a day after Washington announced an $800 million delay in military assistance amid worsening Pak-US ties; the attacks could exacerbate tension between the two uneasy allies in the war against militants.

The attacks started on Monday night, when remotely piloted drones fired nine missiles into a militant compound and at a vehicle in North Waziristan, killing 25 suspected insurgents, the officials said.

Another strike, hours later in South Waziristan, killed five suspected militants.

Then on Tuesday morning, a drone fired two missiles at another compound in North Waziristan. “The missiles were fired as militants sitting in a vehicle were entering into a house used by them as a hideout,” an intelligence official said, adding that 15 militants were killed in the strike. “The house is on fire.”

Three militants were killed in another strike in the same region. There was no independent confirmation of the death tolls, and militants often dispute official death figures.

It was the second-largest death toll in a day in the unacknowledged US drone campaign against militants in the country’s northwest.

In June 2009, about 70 suspected militants were killed in a drone attack in South Waziristan. “Of course the number of casualties is very high and it will add to the already strained relationship,” a senior Pakistani security official told Reuters.

Washington has been pushing Pakistan to mount an offensive against these militant sanctuaries for years, but Pakistan has resisted, saying it must consolidate its gains against Taliban militants elsewhere first. The US has stepped up drone attacks in response to Pakistan’s perceived recalcitrance.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2011.

Correction: An earlier version of the story misspelt the name of the city ‘Miranshah’ as ‘Miramshah’. The correction has been done.

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Reader Comments (50)

  • SKChadha
    Jul 12, 2011 - 9:59AM

    It’s a rainy season .. :)


  • Akthar
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:19AM

    2160V`s (30X72). The Production Lines must be working Overtime.

    On the otherside, the Production lines for Hellfire Missiles are also busy. Maulvi Dharna Khan, where is your Drone Dharna?

    Drone a day keeps the militants away!


  • Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:35AM

    Stop calling them militant. unless one has prove. they were most prolly innocent civilians ..


  • Fareedi
    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:57AM

    Yes they don’t have a family, they did not deserve a trial, they were not human… they deserved to die..

    Is there anyone who can defend these Pakistani citizens?


  • saqib wasim
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:13AM

    does tribune works for USA … whts the agenda of the tribune or whole of the pakistani media pls dont say that you people tell the truth to the people.. you are liers …. what is the proof that makes you feel that our those innocent Pakistanis targeted by your employer USA are militants ……… shame on you tribune and shame on you pakistani media


  • wasim younis
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:18AM

    On one hand the Americans have left the Pakistani Army high and dry, where as on the other hand they are busy in drone attacks. Both counterparts need to sort out their problems and work together otherwise it will only damage the relationship between the two countries and the militants will only gain control.


  • Mirza
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:20AM

    @saqib wasim:
    By your own logic what is the proof that they are not militants?


  • Frankk
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:34AM


    does tribune works for USA …

    ET doesn’t work for the USA. ET is the USA. This paper is basically an American propaganda rag that has hired burger boys and girls to promote the American agenda in Pakistan.


  • Mehsud
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:37AM

    Osama was in Abbottabad while Pakistan was being pressed by the US administration to storm the people living in the bordering area. Pakistani soldiers and generals without making any strategy hit the tribal area with gunship helicopters and artillery, arrested several people and forced the locals living on the Pak-Afghan border to migrate which is considered humiliation in tribal tradition, thus, Pakistan make enemy for itself in the face of tribesmen by killing their children and women through bombing. Now Pakistan will burn and US will make jokes by playing their cards shrewdly.


  • Jul 12, 2011 - 11:46AM

    @Mirza: According to estimates, 1 militant gets killed for every 10 civilians. The trouble is that there is no proper intelligence network on ground. The attacks are all based on leads and this imperfection leads more to collateral damage. That being said, Militants and Civilians are two definitions based on ones held opinions.


  • Gul khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:52AM

    @Saqib Wasim:
    Tribune is a US funded media agency and it has been proved that it works for CIA. You can google it and you will find some useful material. I did research personally on Express Tribune and found that this paper is totally different than others. This paper does not post news about a good development in Pakistan or atleast does not make it a headline. All it publishes the controversial stories.
    I am from the tribal region and I know 99% of those killed in drones are innocent Pakistani civilians.


  • Mirza
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:09PM

    Thanks for logical explaination. The problem is these terrorists hide behind the civilians and it is important that the local residents get rid of them. If they cannot do it themselves then the say away from them and the drones would take care of them.
    Thanks and regards,


  • ba ha
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:36PM

    @Gul khan:
    No Its not completely funded by the US media some of the funding comes from Tel Aviv too


  • faraz
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:37PM

    Such are the delusions of grandeur that a bankrupt country believes that the global powers are using newspapers to destabilize Pakistan. US have an easier option: stop aid, end all bilateral trade and prevent us from taking loans from IMF and World. US has easier ways to dictate its agenda; they don’t really care about public opinion.


  • sam
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:46PM

    sometimes while scrolling through comments i feel disgusted y some of the hate messages left by pakistanis.. i feel ashamed of calling myself one.. then i read those left by indians and i wish we didnt have to share a border with that lot…….

    as someone above very aptly pointed out we cant ascertain how many civilian lives were killed… we all know how much NATO loves to deny any civillian deaths.. and yet wer choosing to beleve otherwise.

    im all for drones provided theyd kill militants.. but the US or any other country should not use that as an excuse to turn around and say pakistan isnt doing anythign when the US wont give us a chance to.. it needs to leave our country and let us clean up the mess….

    for those indians celebrating remeber this we gave our bases to the US to carry out such done attacks.. so we consciously made the decission to fight terrorism… dont fool yourself by trying to put us down… and also just had a look at

    its rather evident why u guys are forever hovering on our website..


  • sam
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:48PM


    genius hes only proposing the possibility which everyone has so conveniently overlooked…….including your intelligent self!


  • sam
    Jul 12, 2011 - 12:52PM


    “The problem is these terrorists hide behind the civilians and it is important that the local residents get rid of them. If they cannot do it themselves then the say away from them and the drones would take care of them.”

    OMG ill tell u what tomorrow if ur being robbed or held hostage by millitants the police and army should just bomb u to get rid of the militant.. thats ur logic right?

    if musharraf had adopted ur lgic or for that mater the lack of logic then the lal masjid issue could ahve been tackled overnight with maximum casualties..

    seriously what do u think the value of an innocewnt life is.. the one lost might have been someone fathers, mother,sister, brorhter husband or wife……. can u imagine what their families would be going through..clearly not.. that requires one to feel remorse and empathy and u have none


  • Jul 12, 2011 - 12:53PM

    @Mirza: Thats why drone attacks are illegal in nature. If they hide behind women and children, then you need better solutions to take them out. Think whatever but not militarily because you are killing innocent civilians. Otherwise just bomb the hell out of whole place and there will be no terrorist whatsoever. Can one do that?



  • harkol
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:53PM

    @Gul Khan:

    US is trying to fight a war, it is not dispensing justice to see who is guilty and who is innocent. A war is a bad situation, when civil acts like policy and negotiations fail (recall 2001).

    The only way this can end is if Pakistan changes its policy and gets rid of armed militia within its country. It can’t claim inability, still stop others from taking action.

    And, Once you are in a war, more innocents get killed than intended target. That’s a given. The question really is – Why did Pakistan Army play a double game for 10 years, when an opportunity was given to Pakistan Army to clean its house?


  • Abdul
    Jul 12, 2011 - 1:53PM

    Its about time we Pakistanis attack Afghanistan before they attack us.


  • Rahim
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:07PM

    Why our media is calling them militants while the western media is calling them PEOPLE ( How sure ET is that those who were killed were militants??


  • Zahid Qureshi
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:29PM


    Shame on you also for asking for proof ans shame on pakistani media and tribune for calling them militants


  • Arindom
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:35PM

    Good Shot!!
    The drone pilots are getting better and better!


  • Junaid Alam
    Jul 12, 2011 - 2:40PM

    the comments are as painful as the news itself.. even if they were militants, what country on earth would let its citizens be killed by some forces from the outside! I heard there were International laws in this world!


  • sam
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:03PM


    you cant possibly be naieve enough to think that u human life has no value.. an innocent human life has no value.. does thi mean if tomorrow militants storm into ur work place the government should just a drone to take all the militants out irrespective of the casualties?

    if that were the case then given ur logic or for that matter the lack of it.. musharraf could ahve taken care of the lal masjid incident in an hours time by clicking one button enuring maximum casualties…

    like all things in life there needs to be a balance.. civilian lives should not be put on the line for fighting terrorism!


  • Haris Chaudhry
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:18PM

    Anyone who says anything that goes against the beliefs of Ghairat-brigade is an agent of America.. ET is definitely an agent of USA. Hamid Gul and Imran Khan say that so it must be true. ET is also paid by RAW and MOSSAD because it dares publish opinions and news that hurt our sentiments.

    Lets all just read the local urdu dailies that glamourise taliban and their murderous acts on innocent civilians. Lets all feel good about this powerful citadel of Islam and live in a cocoon. Lets not question our policies, our government, our army and our agencies.

    What a load of bull dust from this jingoistic mob.



  • Shabbir Baloch
    Jul 12, 2011 - 3:41PM

    this is nothing but America’s frustration, losing in Afghanistan


  • Jul 12, 2011 - 4:15PM

    The fact is that the US drones have never killed any militant but only civilians. Our government or army do not know who these civilians are because we cannot even enter those forbidden lands. Tribal leaders issue statements and our government take note of them. Meanwhile as the facility of making comments is available, we write our personal opinions, comments as otherwise there is nobody to hear them.


  • ScoobyDoo
    Jul 12, 2011 - 4:43PM

    The news headline should read “32 Pakistanis killed by US in a drone attack” rest will be disclosed after investigation.


  • A.Ali
    Jul 12, 2011 - 4:56PM

    bravo Mr. news.. so they were militants. few days back they were called suspected militants, and if we go further back they are called “people”…


  • Samir
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:26PM

    Despite the evidence that 94% of those killed in drone strikes are terrorists, people somehow think they are innocent citizens. Get real. If they are so innocent, why don’t they move to a big city and live freely? If they are so innocent how come you never see people in FATA complaining? Tribals love the drone strikes for giving them their freedom back from these scum bag terrorists.

    If you think these terrorists are such good people, why don’t yoy move to North Wazirstan and interview them? Post yhe video on YouTube.

    Until then, stop being delusional. Drone strikes work.


  • G. Din
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:41PM

    “This paper is basically an American propaganda rag that has hired burger boys and girls to promote the American agenda in Pakistan.’
    Since you come here, may we presume you are a “burgher boy” (whatever it means) yourself?
    “then i read those left by indians and i wish we didnt have to share a border with that lot…….”
    Bless you! How we Indians have wished that ourselves all these past 64 years.
    “Its about time we Pakistanis attack Afghanistan before they attack us.”
    Russians tried it. Americans are trying it. How would you, a third-rung power do it more successfully than those two superpowers? Unless you, of course, use your “nooklear bum” on poor Afghans because they refused to become your “strategic depth”. The other explanation could be that you do not much respect yourself or the words you utter!


  • Dr,A.K.Tewari
    Jul 12, 2011 - 5:44PM

    @ haris and mirza ,
    U.S, aid to Pak will be based on …….
    …to silence the supporters of
    militants in any form .
    , tell the facts to those who think that global war against terrororism will now never terminate .
    RAW ,MOSSAD ,MI . KGB .CIA Will cont. To play game in Pakistan so that the ISI can not play with the terrorists.


  • joke
    Jul 12, 2011 - 6:16PM

    its not that way, first consider, 1 militant kills 9 civilians, then apply your theory


  • My Name is Khan
    Jul 12, 2011 - 6:52PM

    We are a sick people as the comments above identify. We are willing to criticize drone strikes but the same people above are silent when innocents are killed in bombings and terror attacks. The same people above are the ones who are silent on how poorly we treat women and minorities.

    Let’s be clear. Either you are with us in the fight against terrorism that is destroying the land of Jinnah or you are against us and want Pakistan to follow Zia’s vision of becoming a hell hole for all those that are not Wahabi men. You are Zaid Hamid. You are Imran Khan. You do not get to call yourself a Pakistani as that means you represent the Land of the Pure. The land that was created to create a safe space for Muslims – not to make it a living hell for them on a daily basis. Call yourself Pakistani when you can stand up for the average Pakistani not when you only stand up for the terrorist you fear will blow you up one day and therefore incorrectly believe will spare you forever if you defend him.


  • Mr. Nobody
    Jul 12, 2011 - 7:55PM

    @G.Din that was a tight slap on face of ultranationalists like frankk. maybe being a “burger boy” is better than being “taliban boy”.


  • Ali
    Jul 12, 2011 - 8:23PM

    Where are the armed forces of Pakistan..the defenders of the nation…shame on them…


  • Bilafond
    Jul 12, 2011 - 8:33PM

    [email protected] [email protected]
    This Mirza guy is an INDIAN, so do not waste your breath on him. Just block all the supplies let them bring it from North of Oxus and spare our people because this Government is more interested with shuttle service to some house Number 90 in Karachi. They are no more interested who lives who dies.


  • Khawaja Faraz
    Jul 12, 2011 - 8:45PM

    mirza Sb. only fair trial can pprove if they were miltants or not….they are afraid to give them free trial thats why killing them.


  • Jul 12, 2011 - 9:50PM

    I have noticed that Indian Bloggers seems to be very happy over this forum. They should peep into their own occupied Kashmir where instead of Drone attack, they are daily killing hundreds of innocent Kashmiris by Indian Armed forces. Who gave India the certification / authorization to do this genocide. Shame on you. US or Indians both are cruel nations.

    Kashmiris will seek independence from India one day inshAllah very soon and India has to vacate what she calls as an Atoot anng.

    Jul 12, 2011 - 10:28PM

    My reading is that most of the killed in drone attacks are militants. My conviction is based on the statement made a Pakistani General recently that majority of militants are killed by the drones and secondly when the Jirga chiefs were killed in NWA by the drones there was a lot of hue and cry raised both by the locals and Taleban respectively but such noises are never heard when Taleban get killed on numerous occasions.


  • zohaib
    Jul 12, 2011 - 11:29PM

    “suspected militant” , human beings are not even being treated as humans . i wish humanity leads everyone


  • Althar
    Jul 13, 2011 - 5:34AM

    V72 production line needs to be outsourced to china! Too much demand & a huge supply gap. The Govt must issue one way tickets to ‘confirmed militants’ & not to gate crashing militants. Situation up here is like situation in karachi power shortage.


  • Mirza
    Jul 13, 2011 - 5:47AM

    @Khawaja Faraz:
    Fair trial like in Pakistan, like Mukhtar Mai got? When you cannot give fair trial to a gang rape victim, how can you demand justice for suspected terrorists in a state of war?
    I am against all killings no matter what. However, the killings of tens of thousands of Pakistani civilians must be accounted for.


  • Mirza
    Jul 13, 2011 - 8:09AM

    @Zahid Qureshi:
    Sorry I did not realize that nobody carries a gun in that part of the world! They are the most peace loving and law abiding citizens. Name calling is not going to change the facts.

  • Peeru Shah
    Jul 13, 2011 - 9:42AM

    Who’s gonna tell that the people died were militants or otherwise? I
    wish I could ask Gen Kayyani about his stance on these attacks as he recently said that no more drone attacks would b tolerated anymore.
    Shame on the government and shame on their bloody gutless parliament who are over-joyed by just passing a resolution against attacks.


  • Sam
    Jul 13, 2011 - 11:45AM


    in india during 92 and 93 riots muslims women got raped… an indian priest was murdered during hindu christian clashes…. and u speak of a secular and just state?

    now see here mirza im a factual person.. and unfortunately u cant back anythign u say up with facts……


  • Abdur Rauf Yousafzai
    Jul 13, 2011 - 3:37PM

    This is Miran Shah not Miramshah………Applaud for atom bomb and so-called sovereignty….I think these tribal are not Pakistani?


  • Tony
    Jul 14, 2011 - 12:57AM

    It is interesting how Pakistan people are divided over the militant issue. We will never really know what the Pakistani Government’s policy, in regard to militants, is, but it would appear to even a casual observer that they are facing extremely complex problems, many of which are being created by foreign powers, who are outside the control of Pakistan. I am glad I do not have the job of attempting to solve the problem. Another aspect to consider is the attitude of Western powers, particularly the U.S.A. toward most Asian countries. Although they will deny it they really consider Pakistan to be “not quite civilized yet”, and a few thousand deaths of unimportant brown people does not matter. A third aspect to consider is why Air Power is used? It so much cheaper to control unruly tribesmen from the the air than having troops on the ground. Most of their intelligence is based on hearsay, and they do not really know who they are killing, but they are achieving results of a sort, and that seems to appeal to the American mind set.


  • saadi
    Aug 11, 2011 - 1:42PM


    read the statement of the commander for waziristan who openly said that these drone strikes kill militants and without them Peshawar would have fallen years ago

    Theres your proof


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