A pair of US drone strikes against North and South Waziristan killed at least 11 people today, including Khan Mohammed, a heretofore unmentioned “deputy leader” of Maulvi Nazir’s Taliban faction.
Mohammed was killed in the attack in South Waziristan, which targeted a vehicle killing him and four others. Mohammed was Maulvi Nazir’s cousin, and Nazir’s younger brother was also slain in the vehicle’s destruction.
Though the US has repeatedly targeted Nazir’s faction, the Pakistani government is on comparatively good terms with them, and the group has agreed not to become involved in the internal conflicts within Pakistan. The repeated drone strikes have, however, led them to threaten retaliatory strikes against the US.
A second strike a few hours later hit North Waziristan Agency, killing six unknown people who officials termed “suspects.” It wasn’t clear which of the assorted “Taliban” style factions were being targeted in this attack.
The attacks are not only fueling anger among tribesmen, but are also alienating the US from Pakistani political groups. Key opposition figure Imran Khan today slammed the policy of drone strikes, saying the attacks were killing large numbers of civilians and urging the Zardari government to step down if it was unable to get the US to stop. Khan said his party, the Tehreek-e Insaf, was ready to order the Pakistani military to shoot down the drones if it was in power.
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