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February 3, 2015

5 US drone strikes in January killed at least 26 people

Peshawar

 
February 3, 2015

PESHAWAR: The US stepped up its drone campaign in Pakistan in January, launching more strikes and killing more people in a month than any since July 2014.
This was stated by the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism in its monthly report for January 2015.It said the CIA killed at least 26 people in five strikes giving January the highest casualty rate in six months.
“Four of the five strikes reportedly targetted the Shawal area - a thickly wooded region with steep valleys that crosses the borders of North and South Waziristan, and of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is reportedly a major stronghold for armed groups in Pakistan’s tribal areas,” the report noted.
The report added that the Pakistan military continued its air and ground operation in North Waziristan and reportedly pushed Arab and Central Asian fighters out of Pakistan, into Afghanistan.
It said the US drone strikes have continued across the border, despite the Nato mission there having come to an end. “Every strike this month reportedly killed foreigners as well as local men. The nationality of these foreign fighters was not always clear, though they were often described as being Uzbeks. It is not clear if this is a reference to their nationality or ethnicity,” the Bureau of Investigative Journalism reported. .
Some of the dead were described in media reports as being loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a well known warlord from the tribal areas. There were reports he was killed in the first strike of the year, but they later turned out to be false, the report said.Also this month, the Bureau said it had completed an audit of its Pakistan drone data.

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