MIRAMSHAH: Four Uzbek militants were killed in this year’s first US drone attack on Wednesday. The drone targeted a vehicle and a residential compound in Darga Mandi area of North Waziristan.

According to official sources, the drone fired two missiles on the car and the compound in Tabbi village near the Afghan border, killing four Uzbek nationals.

The last drone attack in the country had been carried out on Dec 25 last year near Miramshah, the regional headquarters. Three suspected militants had been killed in that attack on a compound in Qutab Khel area.

Residents said that US drones kept hovering over North Waziristan throughout the day.

The missile explosions were heard up to 20km away, they said.


First such strike in North Waziristan this year


The government had urged the United States to stop drone strikes in the tribal areas during its negotiations with the Taliban.

According to AFP, an intelligence official in Miramshah said the missiles had struck a pick-up truck carrying six militants and laden with explosives.

“Four of them were Uzbeks and two were Punjabi Taliban,” he said.

The militants had parked their truck along the outer wall of the compound — both of which were destroyed and remained ablaze for some time.

Another security official said the authorities had intercepted a radio message about the attack in which “one of the militants was asking others to reach the site and search for any one injured in the strike and also to dig up the bodies”.

The area west of Miramshah where Wednesday’s attack was carried out is considered a stronghold of the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network.

The strike came as Pakistani Taliban said that Uzbek militants had been involved in the siege of the Karachi airport on Sunday night in which 37 people, including the 10 attackers, had been killed.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2014

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