‘US missile strike’ kills 30
Three missiles thought to have been fired from a US unmanned aircraft destroyed a house used by a local Taliban commander in the Kurram tribal region of Pakistan, killing at least 30 people, witnesses said.
The US has launched a barrage of similar attacks against suspected militants in the border region by unmanned aircraft since August last year, killing top militants but angering Pakistani leaders, who say they undercut their fight against terror.
Rehman Ullah, a resident of the targeted village of Baggan, said drones were seen in the sky before the attack.
He said bodies had been dug up from the wreckage. Pakistani officials were not available or declined comment.
Meanwhile, Pakistani militants said the government had agreed to impose Islamic law as part of a proposed peace deal in a one-time tourist destination in the north-west where Taliban extremists increasingly hold sway.
The agreement would cover the Swat valley and surrounding regions.
Islamist militants there have been brutally enforcing a hardline version of Islamic law since the middle of last year when an earlier deal broke down, burning girls schools and attacking government targets and security forces
Several past deals with militants in north-west Pakistan have failed and been criticised by the US as giving insurgents time to regroup, but the country’s civilian government says force alone cannot defeat the extremists wreaking havoc there and attacking US troops in neighbouring Afghanistan.
The drone fired two missiles at the hideout, where a meeting of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan was being held, TV channels reported.
There was no official word on the incident. Though US drones target Taliban and al-Qaeda bases in Waziristan region, this was the first such attack in Kurram Agency.
Minutes after the strike, Taliban militants surrounded the area and were not allowing locals to approach the scene of attacks.
The missile strike came two days after another US drone attack in South Waziristan tribal region killed 32 people, most of them Uzbek supporters of al-Qaeda.
Kurram Agency has also been a scene of widespread sectarian violence between Shia and Sunni [Deobandi/Wahhabi] tribesmen since last year. Hundreds of people have been killed in clashes between rival tribesmen. The situation in Kurrum Agency took a turn for the worse after Taliban fighters infiltrated the area and began backing the Deobandis/Wahhabis.