The Haqqani militant network was targeted by a suspected U.S. drone strike on Thursday near Pakistan’s mountainous border with Afghanistan, killing four people, officials said.
The US has already launched 3 attacks inside Pakistan since President Donald Trump took office in January.
Senior network commander, Abdur Rasheed Haqqani died along with his local militants, as reported by the two Pakistani intelligence officials and a local government officer. According to them, an unmanned aerial vehicle dropped two missiles on the compound where the militants were residing.
Villagers initially reported a blast in the Upper Kurram area to authorities, said one of the officials, adding, “We got it from our informant later that it was a U.S. drone strike that targeted Haqqanis.”
The locals were hesitant to report the entire event and were unsure about the death of the commander. There was no official comment from the Pakistani government or the militants
Trump’s new strategy for the Afghanistan war calls for a tougher stance with Pakistan against militants such as the Haqqani network who have bases inside Pakistan.
Since the Afghan policy review, the U.S. has been pushing Islamabad for decisive action against the Haqqani network militants, who are notorious for using Pakistani soil to launch attacks against American-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Islamabad denies the allegations, and, instead, blames Kabul for not taking out militants who use Afghan territory as a base for attacks on targets in Pakistan.
Pakistan has been facing a deadly Islamist militancy for more than a decade. Gunmen attacked a minority Shi‘ite Muslim mosque in Islamabad, the capital, on Wednesday, killing two people.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, a Sunni sectarian group linked with militant group Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the mosque attack.
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