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January 25, 2018

Haqqani commanders perish in US drone strike

Top Story

January 25, 2018

HANGU/KALAYA: Two militants of the Haqqani network were killed in a US drone attack in the Orakzai Agency, government officials said on Wednesday.

Deputy Superintendent of Police, Thall, Shaukat Ali Shah Bukhari, and Political Tehsildar, Upper Orakzai Agency, Khaista Akbar, said the drone targeted a house in Dapa Mamazai village at 5:00am.

Another source said the house was destroyed in the attack and two militants, identified as commander Ihsanullah alias Khuraye and his associate Nasir Mehmood, were the target. "Both the militants were killed in the attack," the source added. It was the third US drone attack in the area.

The administration of Hangu district, sited in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, had claimed that the area where the drone strike took place was situated in the jurisdiction of Orakzai Agency. The latter made an opposite claim, though in the end it became increasingly clear that the strike had taken place in the Orakzai Agency.

There has been a slight increase in the number of US drone strikes in Fata since last year when Donald Trump was installed as US President and took a tougher position against Pakistan after accusing it of sheltering terrorists. Pakistan denied the allegation and has been regularly protesting the US drone attacks as counterproductive and an attack on its sovereignty. This is the second drone strike in Fata in January while one had taken place in late December. The target has been mostly members of the Afghan Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network, which has been declared a terrorist organisation by the US and also the UN.

Mariana Baabar adds from Islamabad: The US delivered on its threat on Wednesday when it took ‘unilateral action’, and the Nato-led Resolute Support Mission (RSM) carried out a drone strike and bombed well inside Pakistan's terrain on a refugee camp in the Orakzai Agency, in which some deaths took place together with collateral damage.

Earlier, in the face of these ‘unilateral’ threats from the United States, Pakistan had affirmed that there can be no compromise on our national honour…… “we do not want a conflict with our friends, but will ensure the security of Pakistan.”

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the "unilateral action” in Orakzai Agency, carried out by the RSM which targeted an Afghan refugee camp saying this was “detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism."

The Foreign Office reminded the United States that it was important “to share actionable intelligence so that appropriate action is taken against terrorists by Pakistan’s forces within its territory.”

Spokesman at the Foreign Office emphasised that Pakistan has also been stressing the need of early repatriation of Afghan refugees as their presence in Pakistan helps Afghan terrorists to melt and morph among them.

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