Investigators to identify ‘militants’ killed in drone strike

MIRANSHAH: Pakistani investigators were on Friday trying to identify at least 10 militants killed in a US missile attack in the tribal belt, officials said.

The strike Thursday by a suspected US spy plane, which targeted a rebel compound, killed 10 rebels in North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border where Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters are said to be hiding.

‘We are collecting information about the identity of all those killed in the attack,’ a senior security official in the area told AFP.

‘We believe that all the 10 men killed in the strike were Afghans as the compound belonged to the Haqqani network,’ he added.

The Haqqani network is a powerful Afghan group based in northwest Pakistan closely linked to Al-Qaeda and known for its sophisticated attacks targeting the Afghan government and foreign troops in Afghanistan.

The compound hit by the US spy plane was said to be the house of Afghan national Ahmad Afghani.

There were unconfirmed reports that one the sons of Jalaluddin Haqqani, a former anti-Soviet fighter in Afghanistan, is called Ahmad.

Another security official said it was not yet clear whether any high-value targets including Ahmad were present at the time of attack in the Dandy Darpa Khel area of North Waziristan.

It was the fourth missile strike this month in North Waziristan. Washington says Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled Afghanistan after the 2001 US-led invasion are holed up in the semi-autonomous tribal belt.

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