3 dozen people killed in fresh US drone hits on Pak-Afghan border

Tariq Saeed

Peshawar

In the wake of the good will gesture of Pakistan that effectively ensured the safe release of Canadian hostage and his American wife along with three children a few days back, the Americans paced up their adventurism in the Pakistani Tribal belt and killed up to three dozen people in series of drone hits in the border areas of Pak-Afghan near Kurram agency during the short span of 24 hours, a move apprehended to sabotage the ongoing Quadrilateral peace talk. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), however, insisted the drone strikes were not carried out in Pakistan territory.
The locals feared there would be more such attack s as drones were seen hovering in the region till the filling of this report. While some reports suggested a number of Taliban militants of the Haqqani network and their commanders were killed in the fresh strikes, the independent sources declined to confirm the reports.
Reports reaching from the Kurram agency and confirmed by the officials of the Political administration as well as the security forces, the predator planes that hit the border area near Kurram agency on Monday late night killing up to six people also struck on Tuesday wee hours and later in the afternoon killed another 26 people. The drones also wounded more than a dozen others.
Source said the pilotless planes or drones that struck on the night between Monday and Tuesday at a compound in Pak-Afghan border village and killed up to 20 people, also targeted a house in Khaska Ramsar area at Pak-Afghan border near Kurram agency killing at least six more people and wounding many others. Later on Tuesday afternoon, the drone that continued hovering over the region, targeted a compound in Anjargay Zando border village near Kurram agency with hellfire missiles and killed another six people. “The American planes fired at least two missiles on a house in Anjargay Zando village in Kuch Kurram as the compound was flattened and at least six people were killed in the attack”. The Local sources said adding it could not be ascertained if the victims were the militants or the local tribal.
“The First drone strike killed five people and shortly in a second hit the US drone fired two more missiles after militants have gathered to retrieve dead bodies from the rubble,” a senior official of the Political administration said adding the attack claimed 20 more lives. The Third hit in the afternoon on Tuesday added another six to the death toll. The officials said.
The officials said around 30 dead bodies have been retrieved and drones were seen still hovering in the region adding they apprehend more attacks.
The political officials said they are yet to confirm if the strikes were made in Pakistani territory or Afghanistan side yet the local sources say the areas targeted were the combined border region with no specific allocation and many compounds are located on both the soils.
Some sources claimed the strikes targeted hideouts of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and the Haqqani Network dropping 10 missiles. The independent sources say they have no such reports with local sources saying a number of civilians or innocent tribal were also killed and injured in the fresh drone hits.
It may be recalled that the American drones have been doing adventurism in the Pakistani tribal belt since 2004. The missile attacks in August 2008 intensified. More than three thousand people died in over 400 hits mostly in North and South Waziristan so far. Out of those strikes, 33 were conducted in 2008 and 53 in 2009. However, the notorious drones struck 118 times in 2010 and more than two dozen attacks were launched in 2011. Likewise scores of drone attacks were conducted in the year 2012 killing hundreds of People. In the year 2014 the drones struck for fifteen times in the Pakistani tribal belt. In the years 2015 and 2016 the ratio of drone attacks, however, remained low.
No doubt, a big majority of the drone’s victims remained the innocent tribals as even admitted by the international watch dogs though the US could also manage to hit few of its wanted men including Mullah Mansoor, Baitullah Masood and Hakimullah Masood.
In the meanwhile amid growing resentment among the masses as well as the political circles of the country against the drone hits, all the appeals made by the successive governments in Pakistan to halt the drone strikes always fell on the deaf ears of those at the helm of affairs in Washington. Pakistani administration pleads that the drone strikes were proving extremely counterproductive against the so called war on terror as the missile hits only added to the hatred of Pakistani people against America with particular reference to the recently installed Trump administration that is displaying extremely hostile attitude towards Pakistan.

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