US drones launched an apparent attack on a compound near South Waziristan’s capital of Wana today, killing at least 13 people and wounding an unknown number of others. Four missiles were said to be fired at a compound belonging to a suspected commander in the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
The initial strike on the compound only killed one person, according to residents. The bulk of the toll came when locals rushed to the scene to help rescue the wounded trapped under the rubble, and the drone fired more missiles on them. It is unclear how many of the slain were civilians, but given the nature of the secondary strike it seems likely to be significant.
It is the second US drone strike this week, and comes at a time when the Pakistani military is just beginning what is being touted as a massive military offensive against the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan and the TTP in general.
After a month of military buildup and seeing the destruction wrought in the Swat Valley by a similar venture, the bulk of South Waziristan has been emptied out as tribesmen in rural areas flock to the comparative safety of camps in the nearby North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). The remaining residents are generally centered around the region’s few towns which likely explains why the compound, so near to Wana, still had occupants.