t least 15 people were killed today and many more wounded when a US drone launched a pair of attacks against a mud dwelling just outside of the North Waziristan town of Miramshah, near the Afghan border.
The first strike, in the early afternoon, killed at least eight people and collapsed the structure, trapping others underneath. When local villagers arrived on the scene to try to dig the others out of the rubbe, a second missile was fired, killing seven more people.
The identities of the victims are not yet known, but reports have the owner of the dwelling, Abdur Rehman, among the slain. An anonymous Pakistani security source claimed Rehman was a “local commander” and identified every single person killed, even the locals who gathered for the rescue operation, as “terrorists.”
But a local intelligence official told a different story, saying that they could not confirm that any of the victims was a member of any militant group. Rehman was also identified by locals as an important local tribal leader, but not necessarily with any affiliation to any militant group.
The attacks were by far the deadliest of the new year. In 2009 the US killed an estimated 708 people in 44 drone strikes against Pakistan, and despite security sources labeling virtually every one a “suspect” officials now say that nearly 700 of them had no known connection to any group and were apparently innocent civilians.