Pakistani Taliban kill 5 soldiers after commander dies in drone attack

10:13, October 16, 2010      

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Taliban militants attacked a checkpoint in Pakistan's South Waziristan tribal region on Friday and killed five soldiers, local sources said.

Militants attacked the check post at Sararogha area, according to reports. The security forces launched counter attack and inflicted losses on the militants.

Pakistan's military launched an offensive against Taliban in South Waziristan last October and announced victory earlier this year by expelling militants from the region.

South Waziristan is the birthplace of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its founder Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone strike in 2009.

Majority of the militants fled South Waziristan after the offensive and had taken shelter in the neighboring North Waziristan agency and Orakzai tribal region.

The TTP spokesman Azam Tariq said this month that the fighters have again arrived in South Waziristan and would launch attacks on the security forces.

The attack came just hours after a U.S. drone killed at least four people, including Taliban commander Qari Hussain, in North Waziristan tribal region. The drone hit a vehicle near Mir Ali, a main town in North Waziristan.

Qari Hussain is believed to a mastermind of many suicide bomb attacks across Pakistan, sources said.

Since a suicide attack killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan in December, covert U.S. drone attacks have tremendously increased in the volatile Waziristan tribal region.

Waziristan is the home of Taliban leaders Hakimullah Mehsood, Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mulla Nazir, who are fighting against U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, whose network is fighting against U.S. and local forces in neighboring Afghanistan, is also active in the region. The network is run by Sirajuddin Haqqani, the son of former Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani.

Pakistan is under pressure to launch operation against Haqqani network. A number of high-profile militant leaders, including Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud were killed in the drone attacks.

Pakistan publicly criticizes drone attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and fuel more anti-Americanism among the people, but observers widely believe that Pakistan shares intelligence with the U.S. on such strikes.

Source: Xinhua


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