Taliban base hit twice by drones; 17 killed

MIRAMSHAH: A US drone aircraft twice attacked on Wednesday a Taliban training base frequented by foreign militants in a North Waziristan village, killing 17 insurgents and injuring seven others.

A senior government official in Peshawar confirmed the attacks and said that reports reaching his office indicated that 17 militants had been killed in the missile attack on the camp in the village of Sanzalai. The death toll was likely to increase to between 20 and 25, he said.

“Whenever a drone attack takes place, foreign militants are among those killed,” he said. “We are waiting for details.” He said the target of the attacks was a base frequented by foreign militants.

Missiles fired by the drone struck the base in the mountainous village, some 35 kilometres from Miramshah. The area is adjacent to Afghanistan’s Paktia province.

The first strike came at around 3.30pm when two missiles hit the compound.

The other attack took place an hour later when militants were retrieving bodies and helping the injured, a resident of the village said.

He said the area had been under the control of the Taliban and those killed in the first strike were ‘guests’, a term locally used for foreign militants.

The United States stepped up drone attacks after a suicide bomber struck a CIA base in Khost, just across the border, killing seven CIA agents.

Agencies add: The attack flattened a fort used by the Taliban for training militants.

Just over an hour later, a suspected drone slammed another missile into a group of militants sifting through the wreckage, searching for survivors and picking out dead bodies, security officials said.

The area is a stronghold of Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who fought with the Taliban when US-led troops invaded Afghanistan and is reputed to control up to 2,000 fighters.

“It was a huge, fort-like mud-house. They were using it as a training centre and the training centre belonged to Hafiz Gul Bahadur,” a Pakistani intelligence official said.

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