Suspected US Drone Strikes Kill 15 in Pakistan
by VOA News July 16, 2014
Pakistani officials say as many as four U.S. drone strikes have killed at least 15 people in the country's northwest tribal region.
Authorities say the strikes took place in the town of Datta Khel in North Waziristan. The identity and nationality of those killed was not immediately known. U.S. drone attacks have been a source of tension between the two countries, with Pakistan claiming the strikes are a violation of its sovereignty.
VOA Deewa reporter Ismail Khan said the drone strike occurred outside the area where the Pakistani military is conducting an operation and in a stronghold of the militant Haqqani network.
Wednesday's drone strikes took place as the Pakistani military continued its offensive in North Waziristan, carrying out air strikes in the Shawal Valley that have killed 35 militants. The military says fighter jets targeted militants who had fled the assault in other areas of the tribal district.
The information can not be independently confirmed because journalists are restricted from the restive tribal region.
The Pakistani military launched a ground operation against the Pakistani Taliban in North Waziristan in June after militants carried out a deadly assault on the airport in the southern port city of Karachi. The military says more than 440 militants and over 25 soldiers have been killed since the offensive began. The government says some one million people have been displaced by the offensive.
Meanwhile residents in the nearby tribal agency of Bajaur say they have convinced the military to postpone any such operation in their area that borders Afghanistan's Kunar province.
Tribal elder Sher Muhammad told VOA Deewa that the local tribal council has assured the military that it will take responsibility for its own security. Muhammad said, 'we will not allow any terrorist to create sanctuaries in the area.' He added, 'if any tribal member is seen with a terrorist, his home will be set on fire and he will be expelled from the area.'
Separately on Tuesday, Pakistani forces said they have captured a top fugitive Taliban commander who once tried to kill former president Pervez Musharraf.
The army says soldiers nabbed Adnan Rashid late last week in South Waziristan, near the Afghan border. He was wounded in a gun battle with Pakistani forces.
Rashid is a former Pakistani air force officer who was sentenced to death for a failed suicide bomb attack on then-president Musharraf in 2003.
He escaped from prison in 2012 and claimed to have played a part in the attempted murder of Pakistani schoolgirl and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.
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