PESHAWAR: Four persons have been killed in a drone attack in Kurram Agency near the Pak-Afghan border.
A suspected US drone strike on Thursday targeted a hideout of the Haqqani militant network along Pakistan’s mountainous border with Afghanistan, officials said.
If confirmed, it would be the fourth such US strike inside Pakistan since US President Donald Trump took office in January.
The Paktia provincial governor’s spokesperson Abdullah Asrat said the drone strike took place on Afghan soil, in the Patan district. He also gave a higher death toll, saying that seven militants were killed, including two commanders, and that two were wounded.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials and a local government official said an unmanned aerial vehicle dropped two missiles on a compound, which was housing militants under the command of a senior network commander Abdur Rasheed Haqqani.
Villagers initially reported a blast in the Upper Kurram area to authorities, said one of the officials, adding, “We got it from our informant later that it was a US drone strike that targeted Haqqanis.”
However, it was not clear if the commander was among those killed, added the officials.
Trump’s new strategy for the Afghanistan war calls for a tougher stance with Pakistan against militants such as the Haqqani network who have bases inside Pakistan.
Since the Afghan policy review, the US has been pushing Islamabad for decisive action against the Haqqani network militants, who are notorious for using Pakistani soil to launch attacks against American-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Islamabad denies the allegations, and, instead, blames Kabul for not taking out militants who use Afghan territory as a base for attacks on targets in Pakistan.
The use of US drones has dwindled dramatically in recent years in Pakistan, where the strikes have proven extremely controversial with the public and rights groups.
In a separate incident, at least three persons, including a leading tribal elder and a member of peace committee, were killed when unknown militants targeted a vehicle with an improvised explosive device (IED) at Barwand area of South Waziristan.
The official at Wana headquarters of South Waziristan informed that tribal elder Malik Wali Jan, along with two other tribal elders, were on board when their vehicle was targeted with an IED. The vehicle was smashed into pieces, whereas all three on board were killed.
Soon after the explosion, high ups of security forces and civil administration rushed to the site and they supervised the rescue activities. The security forces also went on the search operation. So far, there are no further details of the search operation in the area.