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Drone Targeted Haqqanis not TTP: Reuters Story on Drone Analysed

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The Conflict Monitoring Center has learnt from its sources that U.S. drone strikes during the night between Wednesday and Thursday (June 11 and 12, 2014) had targeted a group of militants of Haqqani Network who were moving in a truck on Ghulam Khan-Miran Shah road in Tabi Tool Khel village near Pak Afghan border. Four militants were killed in first strike. The truck was loaded with explosive and ammunition. A team of militants came for rescue work from Danday Darpa Khel area to evacuate dead bodies and injured. Another U.S. drone strike targeted the rescue team of the militants and a nearby house which was reportedly used by the Haqqani Network. Most of the media organizations reported drone strikes at two different locations however, information received to CMC shows that second drone strike was carried out at same location after few hours to target the rescue team. Following militants of Haqqani Network were killed in these strikes.

1. Senior commander Haji Gul (Afghan National)

2. Commander Yaseen Gardaizi (Afghan National)

3. Commander Abdullah Khan (Afghan National)

4. Commander Jamil (Afghan National)

5. Commander Saif El Jihad (None Pashtune Pakistani)

6. Commander Roohullah (None Pashtune Pakistani)

7. Hamza Gul (from Quetta Pakistan)

8. Hamza (origin unknown)

9. Bilal (origin unknown)

10. Mehmood (origin unknown)

According to sources, four militants were killed in first strike and six were killed in second strike. Daily Dawn and CMC’s Peshawar correspondent mentioned these additional names. Mufti Sufyan, Commander Abu Baker Commander Asadullah Asad Driver Noor Khan. Reuters claimed in its story

“Two top government officials said Islamabad had given the Americans “express approval” for the strikes – the first time Pakistan has admitted to such cooperation. Underlining Pakistan’s alarm over the brazen Taliban attack on the airport, just weeks after peace talks with the Islamist militants stalled, the officials told Reuters a “joint Pakistan-U.S. operation” had been ordered to hit the insurgents.

Another official said Pakistan had asked the United States for help after the attack on the country’s busiest airport on Sunday, and would be intensifying air strikes on militant hideouts in coming days.”

The Conflict Monitoring Center believes that the claim of Reuters news agency that the strike targeted militants of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and it was carried out with the “express approval” of Pakistan’s military establishment to retaliate Karachi Airport attack does not match with the ground realities. The claim by ‘anonymous’ security officials of ‘four Uzbek and two Punjabi Taliban’ killed in first strike looks too ambitious as no Uzbek was killed in the two strikes. U.S. blames Pakistan for supporting Haqqani Network while the network does not target Pakistani interests. Pakistani government condemned the attack and it can prove counter productive for ongoing efforts of grand tribal Jirga who has taken responsibility of expelling foreign militants from North Waziristan. A senior official directly related to security affairs in FATA while talking to CMC termed the strike ‘spoiler’ and said that militants will exploit the attack to promote their negative propaganda against Pakistan that it is fighting American war. He said that efforts of tribal elders have started to give dividend and situation is getting better. Another senior security official said that after deadly suicide attack on Boya Checkpost in North Waziristan, military refrained from retaliation because it is serious to give tribal elders a chance to cleanse the area themselves. If military itself did not retaliate in the area despite being capable then why should it ask U.S. to carry out drone strike to make situation further complex, he said.

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