Wednesday, May 29, 2013

US launches first drone strike in Pakistan in 6 weeks

The US killed seven people in the first drone strike in Pakistan in six weeks. The attack took place in an area of Pakistan's Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, and is rumored to have killed the deputy emir for the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

The CIA-operated, remotely piloted Predators or the more deadly Reapers fired a pair of missiles at a compound in the village of Chashma, which is just outside of Miramshah, the main town in the tribal agency, according to Reuters.

Seven people were killed in the strike and several more were wounded. It is unclear, however, if those killed were civilians or jihadists allied with the Taliban, al Qaeda, or other terrorist groups known to shelter in the area.

Unnamed Pakistani intelligence officials claimed that Waliur Rehman, the leader of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in South Waziristan and deputy to emir Hakeemullah Mehsud, was killed in the strike. Additionally, an aide known as Fakhar-ul-Islam is said to have been killed in the strike along with "two unknown Uzbek nationals," according to CNN.

The Pakistani government has not officially stated that Rehman was killed. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has neither confirmed nor denied reports of his death.

US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal would not confirm or deny that Rehman was killed, but did say they were aware of reports of his death. One official said that Rehman is on the CIA's kill list and has been targeted in the past.

The strike took place in an area of North Waziristan that is administered by the Haqqani Network, the al Qaeda-linked Taliban subgroup that operates in eastern Afghanistan and is based in North Waziristan.

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