Suspected US drone targets Haqqani militants in Pakistan, killing four
A suspected US drone strike on Thursday targeted a hideout of the Haqqani militant network along Pakistan’s mountainous border with Afghanistan, killing four people, officials said.
If confirmed, it would be the fourth such US strike inside Pakistan since President Donald Trump took office in January.
Two Pakistani intelligence officials and a local government officer said an unmanned aerial vehicle dropped two missiles on a compound housing militants under the command of a senior network commander, Abdur Rasheed Haqqani.
Villagers initially reported a blast in the Upper Kurram area to authorities, said one of the officials, adding, “We got it from our informant later that it was a US drone strike that targeted Haqqanis.”
It was not clear if the commander was among those killed, added the officials, who sought anonymity as the issue is a sensitive one.
Trump’s new strategy for the Afghanistan war calls for a tougher stance with Pakistan against militants such as the Haqqani network who have bases inside Pakistan.
Since the Afghan policy review, the US has been pushing Islamabad for decisive action against the Haqqani network militants, who are notorious for using Pakistani soil to launch attacks against American-led NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Islamabad denies the allegations, and, instead, blames Kabul for not taking out militants who use Afghan territory as a base for attacks on targets in Pakistan.
Pakistan has been facing a deadly Islamist militancy for more than a decade. Gunmen attacked a minority Shi’ite Muslim mosque in Islamabad, the capital, on Wednesday, killing two people.
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami, a Sunni sectarian group linked with militant group Islamic State, claimed responsibility for the mosque attack.
Three bombs tore through minibuses in Afghanistan's northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Wednesday, killing at least nine people, police said. "The bombs were placed on three minibuses in different districts of the city," Balkh provincial police spokesman Asif Waziri told AFP, adding that 15 other people were wounded. Another bomb exploded inside a mosque in the capital Kabul late on Wednesday, killing at least two people and wounding 10 others, the interior ministry said.
At least 16 people were killed after a blast tore through a mosque in Afghanistan's capital Kabul and three blasts ripped through three minibuses northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif on Wednesday. A spokesman for Kabul's commander said at least two people were injured in the blast on a mosque in Kabul. Emergency hospital said in a tweet it had received five bodies from the blast and more than a dozen wounded patients, reported Reuters.
Clashes erupted across several cities of Pakistan amid the Azadi March call by the ousted prime minister Imran Khan Niazi. After Karachi, Lahore and parts of Khyber Pakhunkhwa, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf supporters and workers resorted to violence in the federal capital Islamabad, where the party chief is set to hold the rally.
On a day Lahore witnessed clashes between supporters of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf and police, former Pakistan cricketer Mohammad Hafeez took to Twitter and slammed the Pakistani establishment over the shortage of fuel and cash, tagging prominent politicians in the country. Political and economic volatility has deepened in the nuclear-armed nation ahead of a likely announcement by the International Monetary Fund later in the day on whether it will resume a $6 billion rescue package.
China's People's Liberation Army on Wednesday said it has conducted a military exercise around Taiwan as a warning against its “collusive activities” with the United States, two days after President Joe Biden said Washington would get involved militarily if China were to try to take the self-ruled island by force. “This is a stern warning to the recent collusive activities by the US and Taiwan secessionists,” Senior a spokesperson of the Eastern Theatre Command, Colonel Shi Yi was quoted in Chinese state media as saying.