The US drone strike that killed dreaded al-Qaeda-linked terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri in Pakistan’s restive tribal belt has also eliminated top Taliban commander Amir Hamza.
Kashmiri, a key suspect in the Mumbai attacks, and Hamza were among nine militants killed in the drone strike in Laman village, 20km from Wana, one of the main towns of South Waziristan tribal agency on Friday night. Three other militants were injured in the attack.
Witnesses reportedly saw the bodies of the militants killed in the drone strike lying in an apple orchard on Saturday. Residents buried the bodies in a graveyard in the same area.
Hamza, a resident of Wana, was commander of the Mullah Nazir faction of the Taliban, local reports said.
Mullah Nazir has an agreement with the government and many Punjabi Taliban fighters are believed to be living in Wana and surrounding areas that are controlled by his group.
The US recently gave Pakistan time till July, the month when Nato and allied forces will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan to launch a military offensive in North.
Headley’s info help locate Kashmiri?
One compelling possibility that arises in the aftermath of the drone killing of Ilyas Kashmiri is whether key David Headley offered actionable intelligence on the powerful al Qaeda commander’s whereabouts.
While it is nearly impossible to confirm what Headley might have revealed to the investigators and whether that intelligence helped establish Kashmiri’s location, his plea deal with the government and his five days of testimony that concluded last week point to his close ties with the HUJI leader.