Haqqani commander among the dead in US drone strike

A US drone strike killed at least seven militants in restive tribal belt on Thursday, including an important commander of the feared Haqqani network, security officials said.

The attack happened early Thursday in Nargas village of Birmil area, some 30 kilometres west of Wana, the main town of South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border which is considered a stronghold of Taliban militants.

Officials and a militant source said four foreigners and an important commander from the ruthless Haqqani network, which is blamed for numerous bloody attacks in Afghanistan, were among those killed.

“At least seven militants were killed in the drone strike,” an intelligence official based in Wana told AFP, adding that the dead included four foreigners and a top Haqqani commander.

“Abdullah Haqqani (the commander) was responsible for sending suicide bombers to Afghanistan,” the official said.

Another official in the neighbouring garrison town of Bannu confirmed the death toll and killing of the commander.

A source in a militant group said that a vehicle loaded with arms and ammunition was also destroyed in the attack.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry condemned the drone strike. “Pakistan has consistently maintained that such strikes are a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam told reporters in Islamabad.