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

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriagei
X
May 21, 2015 4:14 AM
The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.
Video

Video Women to March for Peace Between Koreas

Prominent female activists from around the world plan to march through the demilitarized zone dividing North and South Korea to call for peace between the two neighbors, divided for more than 60 years. The event, taking place May 24, marks the International Women's Day for Peace and Disarmament and has been approved by both Koreas. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan Following Record High Poppy Crops

Afghanistan has seen record high poppy crops during the last few years - and the result has been an alarming rise in illegal drug use and addiction in the war-torn country. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem has this report from Kabul.
Video

Video America’s Front Lawn Gets Overhaul

America’s front yard is getting a much-needed overhaul. Almost two kilometers of lawn stretch from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument. But the expanse of grass known as the National Mall has taken a beating over the years. Now workers are in the middle of restoring the lush, green carpet that fronts some of Washington’s best-known sights. VOA’s Steve Baragona took a look.

VOA Blogs