At least 18 militants were killed and five more injured in a US drone strike in North Waziristan Agency on Monday.
A unmanned US aircraft targeted two pickup vehicles belonging to the outlawed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in the Sheratala area of Spinwam Tehsil of North Waziristan Agency, sources told The Express Tribune by phone from the area.
“At least six missiles were fired on two vehicles, destroying them completely,” sources said. They said the area where the attack took place is situated some 15 kilometres north of Mir Ali subdivision. Both the vehicles were going to the Tull area from Mir Ali.
Identities of the dead militants could not be confirmed as the bodies were charred beyond recognition in the fire that engulfed the two vehicles following the attack. However, sources said that the militants belonged to the TTP.
Earlier this year UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Philip Alston in a report submitted to the Human Rights Council said that drone attacks pose a rapidly growing challenge to the international law.
Separately, two Nato helicopters violated Pakistan’s airspace at Torkham border crossing into Landi Kotal tehsil of Khyber Agency on Monday. Sources said the two helicopters flew inside Pakistan’s airspace at Torkham and Bacha Meena areas for around five minutes.
A military official in Peshawar called it a “technical incursion.” However, a statement issued by the US embassy in Islamabad denied any airspace violation. “US Embassy officials confirmed with Nato commanders in Kabul that no Nato helicopters crossed the border into Pakistan,” the statement said. It added that all coalition and US air operations in Afghanistan conducted along the Pak-Afghan border region are closely coordinated with Pakistan’s Air Force (PAF). “We refer all questions concerning the integrity of Pakistani airspace to the PAF,” it added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 28th, 2010.
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