ISLAMABAD/ BANNU: A US drone strike targeting a Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) compound on Saturday killed 15 suspected militants in North Waziristan.
“The drone fired missiles on the compound around 2:00am, killing 10 members of the Punjabi faction of the Pakistani Taliban and five Uzbeks,” said a senior security official in the region.
He said the strike took place in the Mada Khel suburb of Datta Khel.
The official said the dead included two “important” commanders of the Pakistani Taliban, but he refused to reveal their identities.
Pakistan on Saturday condemned the US drone strike that took place near Miramshah in North Wazirstan, saying such strikes were a “violation” of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Foreign Office roundly condemned the drone strike. “The Government of Pakistan condemns the incident of the US drone strike that took place near Miramshah in North Waziristan during the early hours of Saturday, which led to many casualties,” said a statement issued by the foreign ministry.
“Pakistan regards such strikes as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. As has been made clear on earlier occasions also, these strikes have a negative impact on the government’s efforts to bring peace and stability in Pakistan and the region,” it added.
US drone strikes have picked up after a near six-month lull since the military offensive, Operation Zarb-e-Azb, in North Waziristan began. Since June 12, at least four drone strikes have been reported in the tribal areas.
More than 400 militants and 25 soldiers have been killed in the assault so far, according to the military.
The Obama administration had curtailed drone strikes in Pakistan following a request from Islamabad as it was pursuing peace talks with the TTP. During the talks, the TTP had also insisted that drone attacks must stop after that they would consider the government’s offer of peace negotiations.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.