As the death toll from Tuesday’s drone strike in North Waziristan rose to 17, Pakistan condemned the attack and called for an immediate end to the CIA-led campaign in the tribal areas.
A US drone launched four missiles at a suspected militant compound in Miramshah late Tuesday night – the third drone attack since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office and the deadliest one this year so far.
“The death toll has risen to 17,” said a security official based in North Waziristan.
Intelligence officials claimed the compound belonged to militants from the Haqqani network. But while officials maintained that both Afghan and Pakistani militants were among those killed, there was no immediate confirmation of the death of any high-value target.
The latest strike drew condemnation from Pakistan’s foreign office. “The government of Pakistan strongly condemns the US drone strike that took place in Miramshah,” stated a press release issued on Wednesday.
“These strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Pakistan has repeatedly emphasised the importance of bringing an immediate end to drone strikes,” it argued.
The statement said that Pakistan has consistently maintained that drone strikes are ‘counter-productive, entail the loss of innocent civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications’.
Meanwhile, the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan was quick to dispel any notion that its members may have been killed in the strike.
“No Taliban men were killed in the drone attack which claimed 17 lives,” TTP spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told The Express Tribune via phone.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2013.
Correction: In an earlier version of the article, the headline mistakenly said “UN drone strike”. The error has been rectified.