BANNU: A fresh US drone strike on Saturday killed at least six suspected militants, including foreigners, in North Waziristan Agency where the Pakistani military has been fighting Taliban militants and their foreign cohorts since mid-June.
A remotely-piloted US aircraft fired two missiles at a compound of militants in the Ziara area of Datta Khel tehsil Saturday morning, local intelligence sources and security officials said. The compound was flattened and all six militants inside were killed.
There was no official word on the identity of the dead militants, but tribal sources said they included one Arab and three Uzbek fighters – two of them members of the banned Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), which carried out a dastardly attack on a military-run school in Peshawar on December 16.
The area is generally off- limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.
Ziara is believed to be a stronghold of militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur who is closely allied with the Haqqani Network, the deadliest of all Afghan Taliban factions. The government launched Operation Zarb-e-Azab in North Waziristan after Gul Bahadur pulled out of a peace agreement he had signed with the authorities on September 5, 2006.
According to official figures, 19 US drone attacks have occurred in North and South Waziristan tribal regions so far this year. Of these, 17 attacks took place in North Waziristan and two in South Waziristan.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 21st, 2014.