Testing new ‘limits’: Drone hit kills senior Haqqani leader, five others

Published: November 22, 2013
A child sifts through rubble at the seminary destroyed in the drone strike in Hangu. PHOTO: AFP

A child sifts through rubble at the seminary destroyed in the drone strike in Hangu. PHOTO: AFP


A senior leader of the Haqqani network and five others were killed on Thursday when a US drone fired missiles on a seminary in Thal tehsil in Hangu — in the first such strike on the settled areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

At least eight people were also injured in the attack.

A district government official said on the condition of anonymity that US drones fired four missiles on the Madrassah Miftakhul Quran at around 4:30am in which a Haqqani Group Taliban commander and spiritual leader, Maulvi Ahmad Jan, was killed.

Several senior Haqqani sources confirmed the death of Maulana Jan. An Afghan Taliban source said the five others killed in the strike were also militants. Two local security officials identified two of the dead as Jan and Mufti Hameedullah – both members of the Haqqani Network, a Taliban affiliate.

Others killed in the strike were identified as Maulvi Abdur Rahman, a resident of Doaba, Hangu, Maulvi Abdullah, a local of Sadda, Kurram Agency, Karim, and Gul Marjan, hailing from the Paktika province of Afghanistan.

Thursday’s attack comes a day after PM’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz claimed that the US assured Pakistan of temporarily calling off the controversial drone campaign if the Taliban sat across the table with government negotiators for peace talks.

It was the first time a US drone hit a district inside K-P. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, three drone strikes have previously hit outside of Fata in Frontier Region Bannu since 2004. The frontier regions are a ‘buffer’ area between the tribal regions and the ‘settled’ regions that are under provincial control. The last such attack took place in Jani Khel in March 2009.

The drone strike was also the first in Pakistan since Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a similar strike in the North Waziristan on November 1.

Pakistan condemns drone strike, again

Islamabad strongly condemned the latest drone strike in Hangu, reiterating that such attacks are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. There is an across-the-board consensus in Pakistan that these drone strikes must end,” said the foreign ministry spokesperson, Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, said in a statement.

He said the government had been raising its concern over the drone strikes with US administration and the United Nations. “The prime minister during his recent visit to the United States had raised the issue with President Obama and other senior US leaders,” he maintained.

He said that Pakistan had consistently argued that the drone strikes are counterproductive and entail the loss of innocent civilian lives.

A US official, cited by the Washington Post, disputed Pakistan’s version that the strike was aimed at a madrassa. Instead, the official said, the CIA fired on a compound associated with the Haqqani Network. The official acknowledged that a madrassa was in the vicinity of the strike, but said that the religious facility was not damaged.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (24)

  • Aamir
    Nov 22, 2013 - 2:51AM

    Are the militants there without our knowledge or we are keeping them on purpose? Without this answer, protesting makes no sense. They have reasons to claim Pakistan is keeping wanted terrorists and no one can deny it.


  • Anwar
    Nov 22, 2013 - 2:52AM

    Is there going to be another period of mourning? After all this is also a clear violation of Pakistan sovereignty, isn’t it?


  • Raza
    Nov 22, 2013 - 3:15AM

    Lesson: If we don’t get rid of these Talibans/Intruders by ourselves, Someone else will do this job with humiliation. Now, Imran Khan have to prove that these Senior Haqqani people/leaders were innocent Pakistani citizens (they even not Pakistani Nationals). If not he should shut his mouth and stop moaning !!!!!


  • rkfrom ny
    Nov 22, 2013 - 3:31AM

    ..now US drones striking outside of tribal areas and inside of pak territory…..that too a few days after another haqqani was shot by cia hitmen on streets near ISI houses..!!


  • Abbas
    Nov 22, 2013 - 4:07AM

    Good job. Haqqani network isn’t violating Pakistan’s sovereignty only drones do.


  • nfh
    Nov 22, 2013 - 4:27AM

    Why no body is protesting against the govt.(both against the federal and provincial govt.) that why it is allowed that the Huqqani network allowed to violate Pakistan sovereignty.


  • Shahid Kinnare
    Nov 22, 2013 - 4:33AM

    TTP and militant are enemy of Pakistan. I support drones attack which kills TTP and militant.


  • Usman
    Nov 22, 2013 - 6:52AM

    @Raza: That’s an idiot’s lesson. A Pakistani’s lesson is that drones and militants are both a danger, but militancy cannot stop until drones stop. When they stop, we will be a lot better position to take on the militants.


  • Leela
    Nov 22, 2013 - 7:06AM

    Inquiring minds want to know – Will the certiacte of ‘martyr’ be applicable to these guys?


  • Ahmed
    Nov 22, 2013 - 7:33AM

    How do the Americans know where terrorists are hiding within pakistan and our govt does not… or do they?


  • Nafees
    Nov 22, 2013 - 8:21AM

    this is not good for prosperity of pakistan. endless drones and extra judicial killing will just put this country deep into chaos. now the haqqani network will take revenge against pakistani citizens to avenge the murder. in this fight between america and alqaeda/ttp/haqqani it is the people of Pakistan who are suffering.we need toRecommend

  • JKhan
    Nov 22, 2013 - 8:23AM

    IK should stop supporting these terrorists just for political gain. They are terrorists, not matter who kills them, we should be happy as they are the enemies of humanity. I think US is doing a good job by bring the most wanted guys down.


  • Anoni
    Nov 22, 2013 - 8:32AM

    Et kindly at least get the headlines sorted . it not testing more like intrusive and Invading


  • Anoni
    Nov 22, 2013 - 8:42AM

    Why is that every strike is considered to hit a terrorist ?

    Isn’t the law is innocent until proven guilty ?

    OR perhaps it strike terrorism in the heart of people ..hmm that why it’s called terrorist drone strike


  • Mirza
    Nov 22, 2013 - 9:10AM

    Taking oiver of Pakistan by these lawless fanatic jihadists cannot be allowed. If we do not have a potent govt who can protect us from their terror then drones are the best thing in the world. If we were a normal country with an effective army there would be no terrorist havens and no drone strikes.


  • Tilsim
    Nov 22, 2013 - 9:13AM

    ET please correct. This is not the first drone attack in a settled area. There was an attack in Bannu in 2008. Not good. More homework needed before putting out sensational opening paragraphs.



  • Israr Raja
    Nov 22, 2013 - 9:23AM

    All killed in Hangu Drone attack were Afghanies, and I am pretty sure, they were not on visa in PK, Pakistan. This is job of Pakistani Government to send back all Afhganies living illegally here in Pakistan, otherwise we were keeping hitting by USA as well as TTP.Recommend

  • Student
    Nov 22, 2013 - 9:39AM

    I wish to absue media.I am litterly irriated and my heart is burning. Never drone hit any innocent man, women or child if yes then why media does only say etc killed and also others, why not tell about innocent !!!! huh !


  • yaz
    Nov 22, 2013 - 11:05AM

    Is our army fighting Haqqanis in our tribal areas? Are Haqqanis the same as TTP? NO! Haqqanis are fighting US occupation under Mullah Umer in Afghanistan. They are NOT fighting in Pakistan or making Pakistan unstable. Majority over here doesn’t even know the difference between Haqqani/Mullah Umer & TTP & giving their scholarly opinions. First understand the situation, then comment. Strikes like these are making even Haqqanis our enemies. Don’t we have enough already?


  • Sameer
    Nov 22, 2013 - 3:54PM

    Who says Pakistan dont have effective Army. Infact, Your Army is over effective. What you need is to have Civilian Control over Army. Now that is not possible.


  • ahmer
    Nov 22, 2013 - 3:55PM

    Are the haqqanis pakistanis?? Do not justify terrorists with illogical reasoning. They need to be eliminated for the bettterment of our chidren’s future.


  • Feroz
    Nov 22, 2013 - 5:33PM

    If you keep Snakes who can stop the Mongooses invading ?


  • Stranger
    Nov 22, 2013 - 5:42PM

    DRONE seems to be the new national bird of Pak.


  • Stranger
    Nov 22, 2013 - 7:13PM

    DRONE seems to be the new national bird of Pakistan .


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