PARACHINAR: Two suspected Afghan Taliban fighters were killed in a drone strike near the Pak-Afghan border on Thursday.

According to officials, a US drone targeted a motorcycle in the Ahmadi Shama area of Lower Kurram at about 1.30pm, killing the two militants. They were identified as Afghan Taliban commander Qari Abdullah and Shakir. Abdullah belonged to the Subari area in Afghanistan’s Khost province.

The drone strike occurred in the area where the funeral of TTP Kurram chapter head Fazal Saeed Haqqani was held in December last year. He was killed by his own bodyguard.

This is the first drone strike inside Pakistan’s tribal region this year. The previous such attack had killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in Noshki district of Balochistan on May 21 last year.

Foreign Office spokesperson Nafees Zakaria told Dawn in Islamabad that the government was ascertaining the situation on the ground.

The very first of the more than 420 attacks occurred in 2004 under the government of President George W. Bush, but it was under President Barack Obama that their use increased substantially, before tapering off in his second term, according to AFP. Last year there were only three.

Published in Dawn, March 3rd, 2017