News / Asia

Drone Strike Kills Senior Pakistani Taliban

FILE - In this July 28, 2011 file photo, Taliban No 2 commander  Waliur Rehman talks to the Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan
FILE - In this July 28, 2011 file photo, Taliban No 2 commander Waliur Rehman talks to the Associated Press during an interview in Shawal area of South Waziristan
Ayaz Gul
A U.S. drone strike has killed the deputy commander of the Pakistani Taliban along with several other senior militants.  But authorities in Pakistan have criticized Wednesday’s attack as a violation of their national sovereignty and international law.  
 
The early morning attack took place in the North Waziristan tribal district, which borders Afghanistan and is notorious for harboring al-Qaida-linked militants.
 
Residents and Pakistani officials say two missiles fired by a U.S. drone struck and completely destroyed a mud-built house near the region’s administrative center, Miranshah.
 
Local authorities believe those killed in the attack include Wali-ur-Rehman, deputy commander of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP, which is waging a bloody insurgency in the country.   
 
Former Pakistani army brigadier, Mehmood Shah, says if confirmed, the death of the Taliban commander is a major blow to the insurgents.
 
“I think with his [Rehman’s] elimination, TTP I think would be weakened," said Shah.
 
The United States offered a bounty of $5 million for information leading to Rehman’s location and Pakistani authorities had also placed a bounty of nearly $500,000 on his head.
 
Independent confirmation of casualties and damage caused by drone strikes is not possible because journalists and aid agencies cannot enter the tribal region without official permission.
 
U.S. drone attacks are extremely unpopular in Pakistan and as usual a Foreign Ministry statement has “expressed serious concerns” over the latest strike.  It restated Islamabad’s opposition to the use of U.S. drone operations, saying they are counterproductive, entail loss of innocent civilian lives and violate the principles of national sovereignty.
 
The latest strike comes as the newly elected government of Prime Minister-elect Nawaz Sharif is set to take control in Pakistan.  Persuading Washington to end drone attacks was among his top commitments in the lead-up to the May 11 polls.  Soon after winning the elections, Mr. Sharif also promised to engage in peace talks with the TTP to try to bring an end to the militancy.  
 
Raza Rumi of the Islamabad-based Jinnah Institute says the latest drone attack is likely to put the incoming government under more pressure.
 
“The timing of this drone attack is rather unfortunate, you know, despite the high-value target. Definitely this target is well within the U.S. strategic aims in the region.  But this would cause further discontent in Pakistan and outrage.  In fact it may just cause further radicalization both in the region and Pakistan as whole, said Rumi.
 
Observers cite growing criticism around the world of drone operations, for a sharp decrease in such attacks in Pakistan this year.  So far there have been only 12 drone attacks and U.S. President Barack Obama in a major speech on counterterrorism policy last Thursday indicated he was scaling back the program.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid