Drone strike kills eight in N Waziristan
MIRANSHAH: A US drone attack on a militant compound in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal district killed eight insurgents on Sunday, security officials said.
The latest attack killed fighters loyal to militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the officials said.
Bahadur is believed by residents of the region to have an informal working relationship with the Pakistani army, refraining from targeting the security forces while focusing on US and Nato forces in nearby Afghanistan.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials said four Hellfire missiles were fired at a house used by suspected militants in Dre Nishter village of North Waziristan.
All the Pakistani officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The officials said some foreign militants belong to the Turkmenistan Islamic Movement were believed to have been killed, along with other local fighters from the Bahadur group. Militants from several central Asian countries have joined Afghans, Arabs, and others in Pakistan.
The strike destroyed the house and triggered a fire,” an official said.
“It was difficult to identify the bodies immediately as some of them were charred,” he said.
North Waziristan is one of several tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan that are hubs of militant activity. Bahadur controls most of North Waziristan.
Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and al Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.
A similar attack in the region on Tuesday killed five militants.
The US rarely talks publicly about the covert CIA-run drone program in Pakistan which are a cause of discontent between the two countries.
The continued strikes, despite the likely political fallout, show Washington’s confidence in the effectiveness of the drone program against al Qaeda and Taliban fighters who allegedly use Pakistan as a base.