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Irfan Burki
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
From Print Edition
 
 

 

WANA: Fifteen people, including two senior Taliban commanders, were killed and seven others sustained injuries in two separate missile attacks by unmanned US aircraft in South Waziristan Agency on Tuesday.

 

Tribal sources and government officials in Wana, the headquarters of South Waziristan, said in the first attack the drone fired two missiles and hit a double cabin pickup truck in Birmal tehsil, located around 40 kilometres west of the regional headquarters.

 

They said a group of militants affiliated with Commander Maulvi Nazeer were traveling in the pickup truck from Wana to the Angoor Adda area, a border area between South Waziristan and Afghanistan’s restive Paktika province.

 

According to sources, eight militants were killed and four others were injured in the attack. The dead reportedly included Shamsullah and Ameer Hamza, two senior militant commanders of Maulvi Nazeer-led Taliban fighters. They were said to be trusted commanders of Maulvi Nazeer and belonged to the Ahamdzai Wazir tribe.

 

Tribal sources said two among the slain militants belonged to North Waziristan and the remaining were from the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe in Wana. They said bodies of the militants were mutilated beyond recognition. The injured militants were taken to Wana and admitted to a private health facility, where they were stated to be in critical condition.

 

Later in the day, the drone fired four more missiles and hit a double-cabin pickup truck and a house in the Sra Khawra area in the remote Shawal valley of South Waziristan. In the second attack too, Taliban sources said the drone targeted militants of the Maulvi Nazeer group, which has its sanctuaries in the forests-covered mountains of Shawal valley.

 

According to sources, seven militants were killed and three others injured in the second attack. For some time, government officials in Wana insisted that the area is located in North Waziristan but it was confirmed later that Sra Khawra was in the jurisdiction of South Waziristan.

 

There was no way to ascertain the identity of the slain militants. Certain reports said some among the slain militants were foreigners and Punjabi Taliban. Tribal militants in Wana, however, said all of them were local Taliban fighters and belonged to the Ahmadzai Wazir tribe.