Two missiles fired from a U.S. drone hit a militant facility in neighboring Afghanistan, killing 21 insurgents, including the son of the head of the Pakistani Taliban, two Pakistani intelligence officials and local Taliban commanders said on Thursday.
The strike, which according to the officials took place on Wednesday, targeted a compound frequented by Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban who is believed to be hiding in Afghanistan.
The intelligence officials said that Fazlullah was apparently not there, but his son was killed in the strike in Afghanistan’s Kunar province, miles away from Pakistani border.
Three Pakistani Taliban commanders also confirmed the strike and militant casualties. Pakistani officials and the Taliban commanders spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The United States made no comment on the strike. There was also no immediate comment from NATO, Afghan authorities or the Pakistani government.
It was unclear whether the bodies of those killed in Wednesday’s drone strike would be brought to Pakistan for burial.
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to a Fox News email early Thursday to confirm the details of the report.
Islamabad has for years has asked Washington and Kabul to take action against Fazlullah and other Pakistani Taliban, who are believed to be hiding in neighboring Afghanistan and who cross the porous Afghan-Pakistan border to launch attacks inside Pakistan.
Kabul, for its part, has long complained that Islamabad is not taking enough action against militants who use Pakistani soil to launch attacks against U.S., NATO and Afghan forces in Afghanistan.
President Donald Trump began the New Year by sending an angry, early morning tweet criticizing Pakistan.
"The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!" Trump tweeted.
Fazlullah’s is the son-in-law of a Sufi Mohammad, a radical anti-U.S. cleric who was recently freed by Pakistan. The cleric, imprisoned in Pakistan in 2009, was released in January from a prison in the northwestern city of Peshawar, following a court order for his release on health grounds earlier that month.
The Associated Press contributed to this report