News / Asia

Drone Strike Kills 6 in Northwest Pakistan


Ayaz Gul
A suspected U.S. drone has carried out a rare missile attack outside Pakistan's northwestern militant-dominated region, killing among others, a senior fugitive commander of the Afghan insurgency. Local officials have confirmed at least six deaths in the attack and there are children among those wounded.  The head of the regional ruling party has vowed that his supporters will block NATO supplies on Saturday to protest U.S. drones.

The pre-dawn drone attack in the district of Hangu targeted an Islamic seminary where some members of the Haqqani network of Afghan insurgents were said to be present.

The strike destroyed the facility, called a madrassa in local language, and the video footage on Pakistani TV stations showed the place was littered with shoes and pools of blood.

One of the men killed is identified as Maulvi Ahmad Jan believed to be a senior adviser to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the chief of what U.S. officials describe as the most feared Afghan group battling foreign troops in Afghanistan along side the Taliban.

CIA-run drones have targeted militants and their sanctuaries in Pakistan's semiautonomous tribal region but Thursday's missile strike was only the second to have taken place deep inside the country's urban population and is likely to raise tensions between Islamabad and Washington. The previous drone attack also took place in a neighboring Bannu district in 2008.

The latest strike has outraged federal and provincial authorities. Imran Khan, the leader of the party ruling Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, has alleged children were also among the victims. Speaking to VOA, Khan feared there will be more revenge attacks inside Pakistan because of the American action.

"The lame excuse is that these were suspected militants or people who were training suicide attackers. The point is that there is going to now revenge attacks. The revenge attacks will be on Pakistanis. So, these were Pakistanis killed the revenge will be on Pakistani soldiers, on our security forces," he said.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province serves as a major route for supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan. Khan said that his supporters would hold a massive rally on Saturday in the provincial capital to protest drone strikes.

"We are going to block the NATO supply line from Pakhtunkhwa until we are given an assurity that there will be no drone attacks," he said.

Pakistan's foreign ministry protested the strike, condemning it as a violation of the country's territorial sovereignty and reiterating that such actions damage its efforts to control militants.

While it is widely believed that the United States has carried out some drone strikes with covert support from Pakistani authorities, Islamabad has recently stepped up its opposition to the operations.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington last month, urged the American leader to end drone strikes in Pakistan. However, U.S. officials insisted drones have become an effective counterterrorism tool.

A drone attack earlier this month killed the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakimullah Mehsud, who was blamed for killing of thousands of people, including Pakistani security forces. The dead militant was also blamed for facilitating attacks on American targets in Afghanistan.

However, leaders in Islamabad said that attack had destroyed government-sponsored efforts to engage the Islamist insurgents in peace talks because it happened just hours before the peace process was to begin.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs