5 killed in fourth drone strike on Pak-Afghan border

Updated October 17, 2017

Email

Five people were killed on Tuesday in the fourth drone strike along the Pak-Afghan border near Kurram Agency since Monday, the local political administration said.

The strike was the third in the day and fourth since last night. Local sources said drones have been hovering around the area since Monday.

The two preceding drone strikes were reported in Afghanistan's Paktia province, bordering Pakistan's Kurram Agency. No casualties have been reported from those strikes so far.

Earlier today, a suicide and gun attack on a police training centre — also in in Paktia — killed at least 15 people and injured 40 others.

Meanwhile, the death toll from a US drone strike in the same area on Monday has increased to 26, a Pakistan government official informed AFP.

While AFP reported that the Monday strikes occurred in Pakistan's Kurram Agency, the local political administration said that the strikes in fact targeted militants in the Shpola area of Afghanistan's Paktia province.

The political administration also confirmed that a suspected militant, Abu Bakar, was killed in the attack.

'A clear violation'

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, while speaking late Monday on Geo's Aapas ki Baat, said: "At a time when a [peace] process is restarting, I think that the US should refrain from attacking anywhere — be it Pakistan or Afghanistan."

"In Pakistan, an attack within our geographical limits is a clear violation, we definitely take offence. We [will] definitely take it up with the US that such violations are counterproductive."

Impact on US-Pakistan relations

The drone strike was reported days after the Pakistan Army said that it had recovered "safe and sound" a family of foreign hostages from the custody of a terrorist outfit after it received and acted on intelligence shared by the United States.

The army had hailed the recovery of the abductees as an example of what can be expected from close cooperation between the US and Pakistan in targeting militant outfits.

It is as yet unclear what impact, if any, the drone strikes will have on the push to revive amicable relations with the US.

In June this year, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had warned that unilateral actions like drone strikes were counterproductive to the fight against terrorism.

Drone strikes are "counterproductive and against [the] spirit of ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan," he was quoted as saying by Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), the army's media wing.

"Pakistan Army is capable of taking effective measure if actionable intelligence is shared," he had said.

The army has not issued a statement on the new strikes as yet.