It was far from a happy New Year for the resident of South Waziristan’s Karikot region, after US drones fired three missiles, killing five people and sewing panic in the streets.
All five killed were in a vehicle struck by one of the missiles, and another inside the vehicle was wounded. Several others nearby were also reportedly wounded. Pakistani security officials say those killed were known militants. The other two missiles destroyed a hilltop house that was empty at the time.
Speaking on GEO television today, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi urged the United States to halt the drone attacks which have gone on for months and killed scores of militants and civilians alike. Qureshi insists that the attacks are not in the interest of the two nations.
The US attacks are part of an escalation designed to coincide with growing violence in neighboring Afghanistan. Reportedly the air strikes are “phase one” of a three stage plan to deal with militancy in North and South Waziristan, but having gone on for nearly half a year now, phase two still doesn’t seem to be in sight. The Pakistani government has repeatedly threatened to shoot down the drones, but once again does not appear to have even attempted to do so.