Around 23 militants were killed on Wednesday when their compound was targeted by US drones in Shawal tehsil in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area. The building was reportedly being inhabited by fighters loyal to local Taliban leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur.
The strike comes just two days after three drone attacks were carried out in South Waziristan, and the reported death of Al-Qaeda leader Ilyas Kashmiri last week. Meanwhile, Moulvi Younas, a senior commander and spokesman for Mullah Nazir, has threatened to step up fight against US and NATO troops in Afghanistan to avenge intensified drone attacks on militants in Pakistani tribal regions. He added their pact with Pakistani government remains intact. Mullah Nazir is a close affiliate of Hafiz Gul Bahadur.
The drone attacks on militants linked to Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mullah Nazir indicates US is now going after militants Pakistan classifies as Good Taliban, as they have not carried out attacks against it. However, they are widely believed to be linked to Al Qaeda and assist Afghan Taliban in conducting raids against NATO forces in Afghanistan.
Hafiz Gul Bahadur operates from North Waziristan while Mullah Nazir is based in South Waziristan. On the other hand, Hakimullah Mehsud led Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is also located in South Waziristan and has openly declared war against Pakistan.