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Militant leader among 3 dead in drone attack

September 30, 2011

LADDAH: A top-ranking militant ‘commander’ and a close aide to Maulvi Nazir was among three militants killed in a US drone attack in South Waziristan on Friday.

The pilotless aircraft fired eight missiles targeting a vehicle carrying militants of the group of Maulavi Nazir, near the ancestral graveyard of Ahmedzai Wazir and Masud tribes in Angoor Adda area. The vehicle was destroyed and three insurgents were killed on the spot.

Local people carried away the three bodies. Noorullah, a resident of the area, told Dawn by phone that militants of Maulvi Nazir group reached the area soon after the attack, cordoned it off and took the bodies away.

Sources in intelligence agencies, political administration and witnesses confirmed the death of three militants, including top commander Aleemullah, a close associate of Maulvi Nazir.

He was said to be the fourth on the seniority list of commanders of the Nazir group. He belonged to Wana and had escaped several drone attacks in the past.

The other two militants killed in the attack were identified as Haji Karam and Kharh who hailed from Angoor Adda.

AGENCIES ADD: “A US drone fired two missiles at a vehicle and at least three militants were killed,” a senior security official said.

At least two other Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed the drone strike and the death toll.

The dead were identified as local tribesmen who fought under a nebulous Taliban umbrella, on behalf of militant leader Maulvi Nazir, whose fighters are allied to the Haqqanis and active in the 10-year war in Afghanistan.

The missile attacks are seen at the most effective weapon Washington has at hitting Al Qaeda and Afghan militants like the Haqqanis in the northwest. There were more than 100 such attacks last year; this year there have been around 50.

Most have hit targets in North Waziristan, considering the main militant sanctuary and the base of the Haqqani network.