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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid