US drone strike kills Haqqani network commander, 2 others

US drone strike kills Haqqani network commander, 2 others

Islamabad: A Haqqani network commander and two of his companions were killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region on Wednesday, a media report said.

Pakistan condemned the US drone strike in Kurram Agency and admonished Washington for taking “unilateral actions… (that) are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism”.

The pilotless US spy aircraft fired two missiles on a house in Speen Thal Dapa Mamozai area in Orazkai agency that lies close to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Dawn online reported.

Local sources told the daily that the strike was carried out on a Haqqani network hideout. A police officer confirmed the death of Haqqani network commander Ehsan alias Khawari along with his two associates.

The Pakistan Foreign Office issued a statement condemning the strike “carried out by the Resolute Support Mission”. However, it said the strike targeted an Afghan refugee camp.

“Pakistan has continued to emphasise to the US the importance of sharing actionable intelligence so that appropriate action is taken against terrorists by our forces within our territory,” the Foreign Office said.

“Pakistan has also been stressing the need for early repatriation of Afghan refugees as their presence in Pakistan helps Afghan terrorists to melt and morph among them,” the statement added.

The residents were quoted as saying that the spy aircraft kept on hovering very low in the airspace of Orazkai and its neighbouring areas including the tribal region of Kurram and Hangu district before launching the strike.

The early morning drone sortie caused panic among residents.

This is the second drone attack in Pakistan’s tribal areas this year. A January 17 strike left one man severely injured in Kurram agency’s Badshah Kot area.

Drone strikes have surged in Kurram in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a new Afghan policy last year in which Pakistan was accused of offering “safe havens to agents of chaos”.