The diplomatic turmoil between the US and Pakistan again worsened today, as casualties were reported during a US drone attack targeting militants close to the Pak-Afghan border. According to defense sources, the location was well inside the territorial boundaries of Pakistan. A total of 10 suspected militants were killed during the attack, with several more wounded.
The American drone fired missiles towards a “terrorist hub” used by insurgents near the Shawal area of North Waziristan. North Waziristan is one of the most insurgency affected Agencies of the Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) province. US have conducted a number of drone attacks deep inside the Pakistani territory for the last few months, killing hundreds of suspected insurgents. However, human rights organizations have accused the US of killing several civilians during their indiscriminate attacks.
The Southern portion of the FATA, especially the North Waziristan and South Waziristan areas are the main stronghold of local as well as foreign militants, who are fighting both the Pakistani army in FATA and the NATO led forces, across the border in Afghanistan. In addition to members from various Pashtun tribes, a large number of militants from the Middle East and Central Asian nations like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan are holding out in FATA.
A spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Office condemned the raid today, saying that it violated the territorial authority and sovereignty of Pakistan. Collateral damages aside, a number of high profile Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed during the US drone strikes in the past, which were mentioned by Obama’s advisor, John Brennan as an important component in the war against terror.
The drone attacks, which were the second such incident during this week, completely destroyed a house which the militants were using as a training facility. The incident occurred in the Dra Nishtar area, near the Shawal Mountains. Initial reports suggest that a total of eight missiles were fired towards the building, which was destroyed completely. The US had conducted another drone attack last Sunday. The Americans claim that the attacks have significantly weakened the Al-Qaeda network in the area and are planning to continue such type of attacks for some more time.
A number of high ranking Al-Qaeda operatives, hailing from all over the world are believed to be hiding in the mountainous terrain of North and South Waziristan. The Americans believe that the insurgents fighting against the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan are regrouping and arming themselves in Waziristan.