MIRAMSHAH: A salvo of missiles fired by US drones destroyed a Pakistani Taliban base on Wednesday, killing at least 15 suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal badlands on the Afghan border, officials said.
Up to 10 missiles slammed into the sprawling compound in the Baber Ghar area of South Waziristan, killing between 15 and 18 militants, most of whom were reported to be local Taliban fighters, the Pakistani security officials said.
Five US drones carried out the attack, one of the officials told AFP.
“The target was a base of Pakistan Taliban. We have reports that 16 to 18 militants were killed in the attack,” the official told AFP in the northwestern city of Peshawar.
Another official in Peshawar put the death toll at 15.
But a third official in Wana, the main town of South Waziristan, said 16 militants were killed, while also confirming that the target was a base of Pakistan’s umbrella Taliban faction, Tehreek-e-Taliban.
“I have reports that some foreigners were also killed,” the official told AFP. Pakistani officials typically use the word “foreigner” to denote al Qaeda and Uzbek Islamist militants.
“The area is far-flung and deep in the mountains. We are having difficulties in getting complete information,” the same official added.
Officials said the attack took place at around 2:30 am about three kilometres from the border of Afghanistan’s Paktia province, one of the flashpoints in the 10-year Taliban insurgency.
Wednesday’s strike was the 63rd so far this year, according to an AFP tally.
On Tuesday, six militants were reported killed in a similar drone strike in Miramshah, the main town of the adjacent North Waziristan district.