Haqqani Leader Killed in U.S. Drone StrikeBy: Bennett Rieser - November 22, 2013
The AFP reported on a U.S. drone strike that took place in Pakistan last Thursday. This particular strike was a rare happenstance: it is only the second drone strike targeted outside of Pakistan’s tribal zones.
Previous drone strikes had targeted the frontier Bannu region and a North Waziristan tribal district in an effort to reduce the influence of Taliban leaders. Accurate casualty counts are hard to come by because of the forbidden nature of the Pakistani tribal districts: no journalists, reporters, or foreign aid workers are allowed inside.
The drone fired a missile at a religious seminary that fell under the umbrella of the Haqqani terror network, security officials acknowledged. At least six people were killed in the attack, including a high-level Haqqani spiritual leader by the name of Maulana Ahmad Jan.
Local police sources, speaking to the AFP about Jan, said “He was the spiritual leader and head teacher of the Haqqani network… He was receiving people who were coming to [sic] condole the death of Nasiruddin Haqqani because followers of were not able to meet any other member of Haqqani family.”
One Haqqani source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said “The seminary served as a base for the network where militants fighting across the border came to stay and rest, as the Haqqani seminaries in the tribal areas were targeted by drones.”
Pakistani officials responded as expected: by condemning the drone strike as “a violation of sovereignty and counterproductive to efforts to end militancy.” Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, insisted last month in a meeting with President Obama that he stop the drone attacks.
Despite Sharif’s protests, the drone attacks will most likely continue, as they are considered by the U.S. to be a necessary tool in eliminating militants.
The Haqqani terror network has long been targeted by Washington, D.C. over their Afghan insurgent attacks, including a 2011 assault on the U.S. embassy in Kabul. Various estimates place the number of “drone war” casualties between 2500 and 3700, and Amnesty International thinks the U.S. may be guilty of war crimes over the attacks.[Image via Facebook]