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Haqqani network commander killed in drone strike

25 January, 2018

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PESHAWAR/ISLAMABAD: At least three people including a Haqqani network commander were killed in a drone strike on a house situated close to the Kurram Agency, political administration officials said on Wednesday. Pakistan was quick to condemn the United States (US) drone strike, admonishing Washington for taking “unilateral actions… [that] are detrimental to the spirit of cooperation between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.”

Two missiles were shot at a house in Speen Thal Dapa Mamozai area, according to the political administration. Haqqani network commander Ehsan alias Khawari and two of his companions were allegedly killed during the drone strike.

Sources within the political administration of Orakzai Agency’s Speen Thal Dapa Mamozai area said that the drone strike had targeted a house belonging to Afghan refugees, while local sources in Orakzai Agency said the strike was carried out on a Haqqani network hideout.

Station House Officer Thal Ameer Zaman confirmed the death of a man named Nasir Mehmood alias Khawari.

“A commander from Haqqani network with his two companions was killed in the drone attack,” an intelligence official based in the area confirmed on the condition of anonymity.

The Foreign Office (FO) issued a statement condemning the strike “carried out by the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) this morning, which 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 FO 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.

There has been a slight uptick in US drone strikes inside Pakistan in the mountainous border regions bordering Afghanistan since President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, though they are a long way off their peak in 2010.

On January 17, in the first drone strike of the year, one man was severely injured in Kurram Agency’s Badshah Kot area near the Pak-Afghan border.

Two people were killed on December 26, 2017, in a drone strike which targeted a vehicle. The strike occurred in the Mata Sangar area of Kurram. In the same month last year, a US drone had fired a missile at a compound in the same area. The missile had been fired at the compound at around 9pm, but no casualty was reported.

In November 2017, three suspected militants were killed in another drone strike targeting a militant compound in Afghanistan’s Paktia province near the Pak-Afghan border.

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