Suspected US drone strikes kill at least 13 in Pakistan, Afghanistan
At least two suspected U.S. drone strikes on both sides of the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan have killed at least 13 alleged Pakistani Taliban fighters, according to local officials.
On Saturday afternoon, one strike hit the Afghan village of Shiltan in Kunar province's Shigal District, killing a senior commander of the insurgent group and also wounding a fighter, provincial police chief Gen. Abdul Habib Sayedkhili said. Sayedkhili said there were no civilian casualties from the strike.
There was no confirmation from NATO forces about the strike, nor was there immediate comment from the Taliban. The Taliban had no immediate comment about the strike. On Saturday, officials said two other suspected U.S. drone strikes killed four alleged Taliban fighters in Laghman province.
In a separate attack, a Taliban insurgent threw a grenade into a wedding party Saturday night in Balkh province, killing four people and wounding 13, police spokesman Shirjan Duran said. The motive for the attack wasn't immediately clear.
Early Sunday, two missiles fired from a drone hit a compound in the village of Khara Tanga in the Datta Khel area, two Pakistani intelligence officials told the Associated Press. The strike also wounded two militants, they said.
The officials said Pakistani Taliban linked to commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur used the compound, but it wasn't immediately known whether Bahadur was there at the time of the strike.
"There is (suspicion) that an important commander was within the compound when missiles struck but this is yet to be verified," one of the intelligence officials said.
Both the officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak to journalists.
North Waziristan is home to both local and Al Qaeda-linked militants. Pakistani army is presently carrying out operations in both part of Waziristan.
On Saturday, Pakistani soldiers killed top Al Qaeda operative Adnan Shukrijumah who was indicted in the U.S. for his alleged involvement in a plot to bomb New York's subway system. A military official said that Shukrijumah had escaped the military operation in North Waziristan and was hiding in South Waziristan, where he was killed along with two other suspected militants.
Taliban fighters, Al Qaeda militants and other insurgents frequently cross the border to launch attacks on local troops and NATO forces. Insurgent attacks are on the rise across Afghanistan as NATO forces plan to wind down their combat mission in the country at the end of this month.
Washington long has used drone strikes to kill militants in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan and U.S. officials rarely comment on the covert drone program run by the CIA. U.S. drone strikes are widely unpopular in Pakistan over civilian casualties and concerns about the country's national sovereignty being violated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.