US Drone Strikes Kill 15 Pakistani Taliban in Southern Afghanistan

Pakistan Says Fighters Were Aligned to Mullah Fazlullah's Faction

A US drone strike in the Gomal District of the Paktika Province, along the Afghan border with Pakistan, killed 15 people who the Pakistani government says were fighters loyal to Mullah Fazlullah’s faction of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Fazlullah’s faction is a regional faction centered around Dera Ismail Khan, and indications are that they aren’t particularly favorable to the main branch of the TTP. The TTP is generally centered on the tribal areas, though the Fazlullah faction is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah Province.

The US drone strike comes amid Afghan and Pakistan officials trading blame for the rise of various Taliban factions along the border. Both nations regularly complain that factions use the other nation as a staging ground for attacks, and indeed the factions often span both sides of the border.

US drone strikes are increasingly common in Afghanistan, though exact figures on them are much less easy to come by than the ones in Pakistan, as at times they are reported simply as airstrikes, and the distinction between those and unmanned drones aren’t always apparent.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.