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U.S. drones kill 25 militants in Pakistan

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A volley of US missile strikes killed 25 militants after destroying their compounds in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border, security officials said Tuesday.

Twin drone attacks hit militant strongholds in North and South Waziristan 12 hours apart, as the United States announced it was suspending more than a third of its annual military aid to Pakistan, bringing relations to a new low.

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Early Tuesday, a US drone fired two missiles at a compound in South Waziristan’s Bushnarai area, a senior security official told AFP.

Several missile strikes have recently targeted hideouts in the area, considered a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, he said.

Late Monday, at least 12 militants were killed when US drones fired four missiles on a compound and a vehicle in the Gorwaik area of Datta Khel town, in North Waziristan. Reports of up to 16 militants killed could not be confirmed.

“In last night’s drone strike, at least 12 militants were killed and six others were wounded, and in today’s strike the death toll has risen to 13. Two were wounded,” a security official told AFP Tuesday.

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Intelligence officials in Miranshah, the capital of North Waziristan, said foreigners were among those killed in the second attack.

Pakistani officials use the term “foreigners” for Al-Qaeda-linked Arab, Central Asians and other non-Pakistani fighters.

Washington has called Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on Earth and the global headquarters of Al-Qaeda.

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The United States does not officially confirm Predator drone attacks, but its military and the CIA operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the armed, unmanned aircraft in the region.

But the covert missile programme is deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment and relations with the United States have nosedived since US troops killed Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad on May 2.

Although Pakistani politicians united to demand an end to drone strikes after US Navy SEALs entered Pakistan, seemingly without knowledge of the government or military, to kill the Al-Qaeda leader, they have continued.

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A total of 21 US drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan’s tribal belt since May 6, killing around 130 militants, according to local officials.

White House chief of Staff William Daley confirmed in a television interview on Sunday that the United States had decided to withhold almost a third of its annual $2.7 billion security assistance to Islamabad.

The bin Laden raid humiliated the Pakistani military and invited allegations of incompetence and complicity, while Washington has increasingly demanded that Islamabad take decisive action against terror networks.

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Pakistan hit back by saying it was capable of fighting without US assistance, although analysts doubt the aid cuts will encourage commanders to open fresh fronts — as long demanded by the United States.

“The army in the past as well as at present has conducted successful military operations using its own resources without any external support whatsoever,” military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas told AFP.

In suspending aid, analysts said the United States is showing it will no longer give the benefit of the doubt to Pakistan’s military after a long debate on how to handle it and where its loyalties lie.

“This is a high-stakes gamble in a way — that somehow this is going to get the military to wake up to the fact that their long dependence on the United States, for equipment in particular, could end,” said Marvin Weinbaum, scholar-in-residence at the Middle East Institute.

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Here are the two Trump claims that the Pentagon chief refused to vouch for

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The White House meeting Wednesday afternoon didn't go well for either party, according to their counterparts. Both sides are dishing on details, including a Democratic aide who said that there were two of President Donald Trump's claims that his own Pentagon chief wouldn't vouch for.

At the onset of the meeting, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) began by reading a quote from Gen. James Mattis, who briefly served in Trump's administration.

"But POTUS cut Schumer off," reported PBS News correspondent Lisa Desjardins. Trump then "said that Gen Mattis was: 'the world’s most overrated general. You know why? He wasn’t tough enough. I captured ISIS. Mattis said it would take 2 yrs. I captured them in 1 month."

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Former Clinton lawyer scolds Trump’s White House counsel on impeachment: ‘we never considered’ behaving this way

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On Tuesday, Lanny Breuer, a special counsel who worked for President Bill Clinton's White House, wrote an open letter in the Washington Post to President Donald Trump's White House Counsel Pat Cipollone — telling him that, while he understands an impeachment is a horrible thing for an administration to go through, Clinton and his lawyers would never have behaved the way Trump is now.

"In 1998, we felt under siege," wrote Breuer. "We argued at the time, as you do in your letter, that Congress should provide additional procedural protections to the president ... For example, instead of conducting its own investigation, the committee relied almost exclusively on [independent counsel Ken] Starr’s report, which had serious flaws. The House took only three months to adopt articles of impeachment, and we had only two days to present our witnesses. The president’s personal lawyer, David Kendall, had only 30 minutes to question Starr. We felt this was deeply unfair and a derogation of the House’s constitutional duty to investigate thoroughly whether impeachment was warranted."

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White House leaked ‘insane letter’ to Fox host — that makes Trump look ridiculously ‘dumb’

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President Donald Trump was ridiculed on Wednesday after a letter was leaked that President Donald Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Erdo?an.

The letter was sent a week ago, on October 9th.

A copy of the letter, where Trump warned Erdo?an not to be a fool, was obtained by Fox Business personality Trish Regan.

https://twitter.com/trish_regan/status/1184559361638748161

Commentary on the letter was swift -- and brutal.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/chrislhayes/status/1184570895043571713

Can’t tell if parody of dumb guy trying to cover his tracks or real dumb guy who is covering tracks

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