PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – A US drone strike targeting a Taleban-linked warlord killed at least six militants in Pakistan’s restive tribal region near the Afghan border Sunday morning, Pakistani security officials said.
The strike was aimed the stronghold of prominent warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur, as well as the nearby base of an Uzbek commander in North Waziristan, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts that border Afghanistan.
“A US drone fired two missiles which hit a compound and a vehicle in Alwara Mandi of North Waziristan… killing six terrorists,” a senior security official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The area has been a hub for al-Qaeda and Taleban militants since the early 2000s.
Another security official confirmed the strike and casualties.
The area is generally off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.
Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out militant sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which have been used to launch attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani military launched a major offensive in the area in June and says it has killed more than 1,700 militants so far, with 126 soldiers having lost their lives.