Under the radar: Khyber Agency in the line of fire

A barrage of US missiles targeted the Khyber tribal region for a second consecutive day, killing 25 militants.

Afp December 19, 2010

PESHAWAR: A barrage of US missiles targeted the Khyber tribal region on Friday for a second consecutive day, killing 25 militants.

Officials said three drone strikes destroyed targets in Khyber, the tribal agency nearest to Peshawar.

Missiles slammed into compounds in different villages of Tirah, the same valley where a US drone attack on Thursday killed seven militants in either the first or second such strike in Khyber, local officials said.

The first strike destroyed a compound belonging to local militant group Lashkar-e-Islam in Sipah, a remote region where security forces have no presence, and killed six militants, intelligence agents said.

Another drone fired two missiles into another compound in the Malakdin Khel area, which the officials said killed 13 militants, raising an initial toll of five dead.

Officials later reported a drone strike in Sandana village in Khyber. “A number of missiles hit a militant compound. Six militants were killed,” a security official in Peshawar told AFP.

Intelligence officials said Khyber was being targeted because militants had recently moved into the area from Orakzai and Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province.

The US has doubled missile strikes in the tribal belt this year, most of which have been in North Waziristan. The US ambassador to Pakistan has echoed the demands of the US administration and called for full-scale military operation in North Waziristan, but acknowledged that Pakistan military is too overstretched to go after the Haqqani network at this stage. However, Cameron Munter is confident that the operation will eventually happen.

“We would like them to move (into North Waziristan) tomorrow, we would like them to take out these people tomorrow,” said Munter when asked to comment on Pakistan’s reluctance to carry out a military offensive in North Waziristan. It is widely believed that Pakistan’s reluctance to move into North Waziristan stems from the fact that it does not consider the Haqqani network a direct threat to its interests.

However, Ambassador Munter said the US did not question the intentions of the Pakistan military. “We understand they’re telling us honestly about the capacity of their military, and when they are able, we are convinced they will move in,” he added. (AFP with additional reporting by Kamran Yousaf in Islamabad)

Published in The Express Tribune, December 19th, 2010.


Mullah Toofhan | 13 years ago | Reply Much as every one feels for the innocent lost in these strikes but let's not forget the innocents who die in the hands of these terrorist in Markets, Shrines, Jirgas and other places by no fault of their own. These drones strikes are not only designed to kill the terrorist but also to destroys their infrastructure as well. I dread to think what would life be if these terrorist had a free hand in Pakistan
shahbaz | 13 years ago | Reply I am completely in agreement with the comments posted earlier by Ahsan that transparency should not only be assumed it ought to be properly shown to be observed. This could only be done if access is provided to the media national and international. This access is also urgently required when there are already reports, some of them are by US herself, that more than 80 percent killed in previous years were happened to be civilians. I am always feel uneasiness by the argument that this technique is infallible and not likely to target or kill anyone who is not terrorist. It is to be understood that this issue who is terrorist and who is not is decided by a human being before employing that technology. So, this process of decision making is as fallible as another process of decision making by anyother human being in any other concrete situation. Therefore I seriously doubt the assumption that always terrorists are killed in these attacks. Human life is not so devoid of value as it has been made in the tribal areas of Pakistan. Atleast we should demand inquiry into each and every incident to ascertain the civilian loss.
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