US Drone Strike Kills At Least 30 in South Waziristan

Official Says More Buried Under Rubble of Destroyed House

by Jason Ditz, February 14, 2009

A US drone launched two missiles at a large house in South Waziristan this morning, killing at least 30 and wounding seven others. A Pakistani intelligence official is quoted as saying more people are believed to be buried under the rubble.

At least 50 people were in the house at the time of the attacks, mostly Uzbeks and Arabs believed to be fighters for the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The compound reportedly was frequented by Baitullah Mehsud, a top Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) leader, though he does not appear to have been present during the attack.

The timing of the attack sends a clear message to the Pakistani government, which had been hoping yesterday that President Obama would reveal his “new strategy” with respect to the drones soon.

The large death toll will likely also bring uncomfortable attention to the comments by Senator Dianne Feinstein, who claimed that the drones were being “flown out of a Pakistani base”. With the Pakistani government officially complaining about the attacks amid public outrage, such a revelation would likely further destabilize an already floundering Pakistani government.

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