Pakistan: US missiles kill 3 militants near Afghan border
November 30, 2017 - 12:44 AM
DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan - A suspected U.S. drone strike hit a militant compound near Pakistan's border with Afghanistan early on Thursday morning, killing three militants, Pakistani officials said.
According to two Pakistani intelligence officials, the unmanned drone fired two missiles at the Ghaznavi compound of the militant Haqqani network's commander Abdur Rasheed. The network is affiliated with Afghan Taliban. It was unclear if Rasheed was at the compound at the time of the strike, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The compound is located on the Pesho Ghar mountain in the Kurram tribal region's Ghuzgari area.
In Afghanistan, Abdullah Asrat, spokesman for the provincial governor of Paktia province that borders the Kurram tribal region, said the drone strike took place on Afghan soil, in Patan district. He also gave a higher death toll, saying that seven militants were killed, including two commanders, and that two were wounded.
The border separating the two countries zigzags across a remote and difficult mountain terrain. The 2,400-kilometre (1,500-mile) boundary is known as the Durand Line and was drawn up by British rulers in 1896.
Pakistan is building a fence along the boundary to halt the cross-border movement of militants but Kabul, which does not recognize the Durand Line as an international border, has objected to the fence as a land grab by Islamabad.
Pakistan opposes the drone strikes, saying they violate its sovereignty and claims it has eradicated militant sanctuaries there. The strikes, however, effectively target hideouts of militants who operate on both sides of the porous border.
Also Thursday, the banned Pakistani militant group Lashker-e-Jhangvi claimed responsibility for an attack on a Shiite mosque in the Pakistani capital the previous evening that killed an intelligence official and wounded four other Shiite worshippers. Sunni extremists consider Shiites heretics and frequently target them and their places of worship.
Two Pakistani paramilitary rangers died and four were wounded in southwestern Baluchistan province after stepping on a land mine during patrol late Wednesday, the police said.
Associated Press writers Amir Shah in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.
This story has been corrected to show that the name of the compound targeted in the drone strike is Ghaznavi, not Ghazni.
News from © The Associated Press, 2017