Once incredibly commonplace, US drone strikes against Pakistan’s tribal areas have become infrequent in the last couple of years, with the drone program having largely shifted to attacks in Yemen instead. Today, however, a US drone attacked a target in North Waziristan, near the Afghan border, killing seven.
The slain reportedly included a man named Abdur Rahman, believed to be a commander of the Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The other six were unidentified, but claimed to have been linked to the TTP by Pakistani officials.
The Pakistani Taliban denied this, however, saying that while some TTP fighters were among the slain, the US strike had also killed three civilian laborers in the same area. The US has not publicly discussed the incident yet, which means it was likely a CIA drone strike, as the Pentagon virtually always confirms their strikes.
North and South Waziristan remain major hubs of Pakistani militant activity, as historically the government has been able to exert only limited control over the tribal populations, and have faced major resistance whenever they’ve tried to bring them more directly under control of the central government.