PESHAWAR: Thousands in Upper Dir attended the weekend funerals of seven Pakistani militants killed in a drone strike in Afghanistan, a local official confirmed Monday.
The funerals were offered at the Dir Stadium in Upper Dir, said an official, adding that at least 1,000 people had gathered there.
The strike that killed the militants was carried out on Wednesday on a training camp in the eastern province of Khost near the border with Pakistan, local authorities said.
They added that it was launched by the United States. There was no immediate confirmation from the US-dominated Nato force which is combating Taliban and other militants in Afghanistan.
It is unclear how many people were killed in the strike. The Khost provincial governor put the figure as high as 50 but that could not be confirmed.
A local official told DawnNews on Monday that 21 bodies were brought to the Upper and Lower Dir districts in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for burial. He said 14 bodies were brought to Lower Dir while seven of the dead were from Upper Dir.
“I myself attended the funeral prayer of four fighters, villagers told me they were mujahideen,” Alamzeb Khan, a district official in Lower Dir, told AFP.
Khan said the coffins were wrapped in the flag of Al Badr, a Pakistani militant group linked to the Taliban, and guests at the funeral shouted slogans against US troops in Afghanistan.
The bodies were badly mutilated, and one villager who attended the funeral said the names of the fighters had been written on the wooden coffins for identification.
Local residents said that in the past, bodies of militants killed in Afghanistan used to arrive in ones and twos but this was the first time that such a large number had been killed and bodies brought home for burial.
“I fear that the number of fighters killed in the drone strike was high and we may receive more dead bodies,” the security official told AFP.
Khost provincial governor Hukum Khan Habibi said the strike was staged on Wednesday.
“In this incident, more than 50 Pakistani fighters were killed.”
Faizullah Ghairat, Khost provincial police chief, confirmed the attack and said it was carried out by the US.