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Thursday , January 21 2021

US drone strikes kill Taleban chief in Pakistan – 7 ‘Militants’ get death

File Photo: Khan Saeed Sajna – AFP

PESHAWAR/DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan, Feb 10, (Agencies): A pair of suspected US missile strikes killed a senior Pakistani Taleban deputy and other militants in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said on Friday.

Four Pakistani intelligence officials and three Taleban commanders told Reuters on Friday that two separate US missile strikes on Wednesday killed the fighters. One of the strikes, they said, killed a Pakistani Taleban commander, Khan Said, alias Sajna, and three more people, when missiles struck his pick-up truck in Margha village of Birmal district in Paktika province of Afghanistan.

The NATO-led Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan said it had no information about the strike. The officials sought anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the information. They are based in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and have informants on the ground on both sides of the border. They said on Friday they have also been picking up militants’ chatter through phone intercepts in which they were talking about Sajna’s killing.

Three Pakistani Taleban commanders confirmed their account. Sajna has been an important militant commander of the Pakistani Taleban and had close links with the Afghan Taleban, the officials said. Two of the officials said they were trying to confirm reports of another suspected US drone strike in North Waziristan on Pakistani side of the border.

The second strike hit a compound in Gurwek town of North Waziristan, killing seven militants, the three Taleban commanders said. North Waziristan and Paktika province in Afghanistan are adjacent to the border, and the officials and the militant commanders may have been reporting the same strike as two separate ones. The border region has long been home to local and al-Qaeda linked foreign militants. It is off limits to journalists and verifying any information independently is difficult.

Death sentence for 7 in Pak: Pakistan military courts have sentenced seven “hardcore” militants to death over various attacks on security forces that left dozens dead, including civilians, the country’s army chief said Friday. A statement issued by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) gave few details of the assaults each suspect was convicted of, but said that in total the attacks caused the deaths of 85 people and injured 109 others. Referring to the detainees as “hardcore terrorists”, the statement said they were “involved in heinous offences related to terrorism, including killing of innocent civilians, attacking Law Enforcement Agencies and Armed Forces of Pakistan”. It did not specify which organisations the suspects were thought to belong to.

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