A US drone strike on a vehicle in Danday Darpa Khel village near Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan tribal agency, is reported to have killed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) commander Hakimullah Mehsud Nov. 1. At least six others were also killed in the attack, including two militant commanders, identified as Tariq Mehsud and Abdullah. Locals are still trying to retrieve the dead and injured from the wreckage, and it is not yet confirmed that Hakimullah Mehsud was in the vehicle. Pakistan's Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan called the attack an attempt to sabotage the government's plan to hold talks with the TTP. It was the second drone attack since Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif's visit to the US last week, when he demanded President Barack Obama to stop the attacks. (The News, Pakistan, Nov. 1; Reuters, Oct. 24)
A translator at a Capitol Hill hearing on the US drone program was moved nearly to tears Oct. 29 during the testimony of Pakistani primary school teacher Rafiq Rehman. Rehman and his family—whose story was revealed to the world by Amnesty International—traveled to Washington from North Waziristan to relate how his mother was killed in a drone strike and his two children injured. The family’s congressional appearance was sponsored in by the Brave New Foundation, which has just released the documentary film Unmanned: America’s Drone War, detailing the Rehman family's losses. (Raw Story, Oct. 30)
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Mullah Fazlullah new leader of Tehreek-e-Taliban
BBC News reports that Mullah Fazlullah has been named as the new chief of the Pakistani Taiban following the death of Hakimullah Mehsud. BBC calls him “a particularly hardline commander” whose followers shot young activist activist Malala Yousafzai. As we’ve noted, his efforts to enforce at gunpoint the 2009 “peace-for-sharia” deal in the Swat Valley ensured that it would bring sharia but not peace.
Should progressives really be bemoaning that Mehsud’s death scuttled the opportunity for a replay of that fiasco?
US bombs Pakistan —again
A suspected US drone strike on an Islamic seminary at Hangu in Pakistan’s Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province killed Maulvi Ahmad Jan, a senior member of the Haqqani network. At least four others were killed in the strike. (BBC News, WP, Reuters, Nov. 21)
US bombs Pakistan —again
A suspected US drone strike killed an alleged militant in Pakistan's northwest tribal region Nov. 28. The overnight strike targeted a house in Qazi Kot village, North Waziristan, said Pakistani intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. A suspected member of the Punjabi branch of the Pakistani Taliban was killed, they said.
The attack came a little over a day after an opposition political party revealed what it said was the name of the CIA's top spy in the country and called for him and the head of the agency, John Brennan, to be tried for murder for the recent drone strike on a madrassa in Hangu. Media accounts did not mention the official's name. The party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by Imran Khan, has also been mobilizing protesters to block trucks carrying NATO troop supplies to and from neighboring Afghanistan to protest drone attacks. (Dawn, Nov. 29; AP, Nov. 28; The Guardian, Nov. 27; PTI, Nov. 25)