MIRANSHAH: Twenty-four persons were killed and some others were injured in one of the deadliest attacks carried out by CIA-operated US spy planes in the Gorweek village of Dattakhel area, North Waziristan Agency, on Friday. There were reports that the death toll could rise as the drones had fired eight missiles and caused widespread destruction in the village.
The drone attack came just a day after the government restored the Nato supplies passing through Pakistan. The issue of the drone strikes has been a bone of contention between Pakistan and the US as Islamabad had demanded a complete end to the attacks. “The drone strike on Friday shows that the US has refused to accept Pakistan’s demand to halt these deadly attacks,” said an observer.
Official and tribal sources said that six US drones were seen flying over the Gorweek village since Friday afternoon near the Afghan border. Gorweek, which is about 65 kilometres west of Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan, is close to the Urgoon area of Afghanistan’s Paktika province. Gorweek is a historical village as it served as the headquarters of Faqir of Ipi, the freedom-fighter who fought against the British colonial rule.
Sources said the drones fired eight missiles and pounded two houses and four vehicles. They said 18 people were killed initially in the air strike and 10 others were injured, some of them seriously.
The death toll soon reached 24 as six other persons died of their injuries due to lack of healthcare facilities in the area.Some of the villagers, who visited the spot, said most of the bodies were cut into pieces and burnt. They said pieces of the bodies were collected from the area and put on shawls and into plastic bags for burial. The villagers, however, added that some of the bodies were intact but mutilated beyond recognition.
Government officials also confirmed that 24 persons were killed in the drone attack. They feared the death toll could rise as some of the injured were reported to be in critical condition.Pleading anonymity, a government official said it was one of the deadliest attacks by the drones this year in the tribal areas. It was after a long gap that the US drone carried out an attack in the Dattakhel area close to the Afghan border.
The identity of the victims of the drone strike was unknown, but in most cases the target of such attacks are local militants affiliated to the Taliban group headed by Hafiz Gul Bahadur. It may be noted that the Taliban in North Waziristan, led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, had banned the anti-polio campaign as a mark of protest over the frequent US drone attacks in their area. The Taliban in North Waziristan aren’t part of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) led by Hakimullah Mahsud.