Thursday, April 14, 2011

Six killed in first drone strike after spy chief meeting

PESHAWAR: US drones on Wednesday resumed missile attacks in Pakistan for the first time in a month, killing six fighters from the al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network on the Afghan border, officials said.

Unmanned aircraft fired four missiles into a vehicle travelling through the South Waziristan district, targeting a common root for Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked militants who infiltrate Afghanistan to attack US troops.

“It was a US drone attack. Four missiles were fired. The target was a vehicle. Several militants were killed. The death toll is six,” a Pakistani military official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Another Pakistani security official confirmed the same details of the attack near the small town of Angoor Adda in South Waziristan, around six kilometres from the border with Afghanistan.

Pakistani intelligence officials said the dead belonged to the Haqqani group, an al-Qaeda-allied outfit run by Afghan warlord Sirajuddin Haqqani and based in the neighbouring North Waziristan tribal district.

An administration official in South Waziristan said those who died were “all Afghans. They were in a pick-up which came under attack.”

The Haqqani group is loyal to the Taliban and has been blamed for some of the deadliest anti-US attacks in Afghanistan, including a suicide attack at a US base in Khost in 2009 that killed seven CIA operatives.

The attack came just one day after a Washington meeting between Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, and Leon Panetta, director of the CIA, which runs the drone war.



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