Friday, 14 October 2011

US drone attack in Pakistan kills 4

ISLAMABAD: At least four suspected militants were killed in Pakistan's volatile northwest in a US drone attack on Friday, the third such attack against the Haqqani network within two days, Pakistani intelligence officials in the region said.

The officials said that unmanned drone fired two missiles into a vehicle as it drove through Darpa Khel village in North Waziristan where a similar attack on Thursday killed a top commander of the Haqqani.

US officials in Washington described the commander as Janbaz Zadran aka Jamil.

Janbaz Zadran is believed to have played a central role in helping the Haqqani network attack US and coalition targets in Afghanistan.

Associated Press reported that Janbaz Zadran, was a key lieutenant to Badruddin Haqqani, one of the group's commanders and a son of its founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Badruddin Haqqani is on a US state department blacklist. US officials declared him a terrorist in May. "His death in Miran Shah makes him the most senior Haqqani leader in Pakistan to be taken off the battlefield," the US official has reportedly said.

Unmanned drone attacks have escalated in the region since President Barack Obama took office in Washington and President Asif Ali Zardari and PM Yusuf Raza Gillani in Islamabad in 2008.

Around 275 drone attacks were reported since 2008 in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Last month, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said that US was considering whether to label the Pakistan-based Haqqani network a foreign terrorist organisation.

Clinton, however, recently hinted that the Washington is open to talking with the Haqqanis. Relations between the US and Pakistan have been severely strained this year and worsened after the killing of al-Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden on Pakistani soil by US Navy SEALs in May.

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