MIRAMSHAH/PESHAWAR: Twenty-five people, including five children and four women, were killed and 10 others injured when unmanned US spy planes fired six missiles at the Dandi Kach village in Mir Ali subdivision, North Waziristan, early Friday.
Security officials and villagers said the drones fired six missiles, targeting a house and a Hujra (male guesthouse), where local tribal guests were staying. Villagers said all the victims were local tribesmen and five among them were children and four women.
A section of the media, however, reported that those killed included members of the militant network of the Pakistani Taliban commander, Hafiz Gul Bahadur. It was also reported that seven among the victims were foreign fighters but their nationality wasn’t mentioned.
According to sources, the bodies of the majority of victims were mutilated beyond recognition. A local tribesman Muhammad Sharif owned the targetted house and Hujra. Sharif is the first cousin of Maulvi Gul Ramzan, the head of the North Waziristan peace committee and a noted cleric who has negotiated peace talks between the government and local Taliban several times. Gul Ramzan and other members of the peace committee, including Hafiz Noorullah Shah, Malik Mamoor Khan and Malik Nasrullah Khan, have condemned the drone attack and claimed that all those killed and injured were common tribesmen.
Maulvi Gul Ramzan told The News that the majority of the people who died in the attack were his close relatives. He denied reports that some local and foreign militants were staying at the Hujra at the time of the attack.
The village where the drones struck is about 44 kilometres northwest of Mir Ali, the second major town in North Waziristan after Miramshah. The village is located close to the Afghan border near the highly-guarded security checkpoint across the border at Tarkhobi in the restive Khost province of Afghanistan.
After the attack, announcements were made from mosque loudspeakers in the nearby Spinwam village, asking the tribesmen to help rescue the victims. Villagers reached the scene from nearby villages in their own cars and pickup trucks and pulled out the bodies and injured from the debris. Those who took part in the rescue work said most of the bodies were burnt. They said only pieces of human flesh could be collected from the scene.
The villagers pulled out 10 injured from the rubble and shifted them to the Agency Headquarters Hospital in Miramshah where appeals were made for blood donations. The family members and relatives of the injured complained about lack of medicines and doctors at the hospital.
Official sources say this is the 19th attack by the US in North Waziristan this year. Tribesmen in North Waziristan were heard saying the CIA had resumed the missile strikes after resolving differences with Pakistan.
Earlier, after attacking a tribal Jirga at Dattakhel on March 17 in which 50 tribesmen, including members of the Jirga, some children and Khassadar Force soldiers, were killed, the CIA had halted the missile strikes in the tribal region. On that occasion, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani had strongly condemned the drone attack.
The CIA carried out its latest attack when many political parties, on the call of the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan, had announced a sit-in in Peshawar against the US drone attacks in the tribal areas and to block the Nato supplies for two days starting today (Saturday).