Peshawar | Two separate US drone strikes today killed at least 21 Pakistani Taliban militants in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province near the country’s porous border with Pakistan amid an intensified offensive against terrorists in the restive tribal areas. The CIA-operated spy planes this evening targeted a militant compound on the Afghan border killing 11 suspected militants including six commanders of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The US drone fired four missiles at a militant hideout in the Konar border area killing the 11 militant suspects including the six TTP commanders. The strike was the second in a day as in the earlier attack in Nazyan district of Nangarhar province, nine suspected militants were reportedly killed, sources said. The nine militants, including driver of Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) chief Mangal Bagh, were killed in the drone strike in Nazyan district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, near the Pak-Afghan border.
Shakir Sipah, driver of Mangal Bagh, the chief of the banned LI group, was among those killed in the drone attack. Details could not be independently verified as access by journalists is severely restricted in the region. Militant hideouts have been frequently pounded by Pakistan’s security forces in Tirah Valley area of Khyber region. Khyber is one of Pakistan’s seven semi-autonomous regions governed by tribal laws and lies near the porous Afghan border. Pakistani military operations were launched targeting militants in Khyber agency, particularly Tirah Valley in Bara which borders Afghanistan’s Nazyan district.
The offensive in Khyber tribal region were launched as part of Operation Zarb-i-Azb being conducted by the Pakistan Army in North Waziristan tribal region. Pakistan Army said yesterday at least 80 militants were killed and over 100 others injured in ground and aerial operations in Khyber over the weekend. TTP chief Mullah Fazlullah, who masterminded the Peshawar school massacre in December, was also believed to have been killed after being seriously hit in air strikes. However, the Taliban rejected the claim and said their chief was alive.
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