Al Qaeda leader Umar Farooq killed in N Waziristan drone strike



PESHAWAR: A key Al Qaeda leader identified as Umer Farooq alias Umer Ustad and Ustad Farooq was killed in a US drone strike along with four others in North Waziristan tribal agency’s Dattakhel area on Sunday.

Sources said that a drone fired two missiles at a compound in Dattakhel’s Khat Tangi area killing five people and wounding three others. The targeted compound was destroyed in the strike.

Ustad Farooq has in the past served as Al Qaeda’s spokesman in Pakistan. He wasreportedly the first Pakistani national to be promoted to a leadership position in Al-Qaeda, emerging as its spokesman for the South Asia region in 2009. He is believed to be the operational incharge of Al Qaeda for Afghanistan and Pakistan

Drone attacks are widely unpopular across Pakistan and according to survey conducted in June this year, 66 per cent of the country’s citizens oppose these strikes.

Read: Pakistani Taliban squeezed by Afghan revolt, US drone strikes

Sunday’s strike comes a day after the Pakistan military confirmed the killing of wanted Al Qaeda leader Adnan Shukrijumah during a raid at a compound in Shin Warsak area of South Waziristan Agency on Saturday.

North Waziristan is among Pakistan’s seven tribal districts near the Afghan border which are rife with insurgents and are alleged to be strongholds of Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, among others.

Pakistan’s military in mid-June had launched an all-out operation, named ‘Zarb-i-Azb’, against Taliban militants in the region.

The operation was initiated on June 15 following a brazen militant attack on Karachi’s international airport and failure of peace talks between the government and Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) negotiators.

The offensive has driven out over 800,000 residents from North Waziristan and the army says it has cleared 90 per cent of the tribal region. The army says it has killed more than 1,100 militants and lost more than 100 soldiers since the start of the operation.

Drone strike in Afghanistan kills 9 Pakistani Taliban fighters

An Afghan official says a suspected US drone strike has killed nine alleged Pakistani Taliban fighters in a rural village near the border.

Provincial police chief Gen Abdul Habib Sayedkhili said Sunday that the strike happened Saturday in Kunar province’s Shigal District.

He says the strike on the village of Shiltan killed a senior Pakistani Taliban commander and wounded one.

The Taliban had no immediate comment about the strike.

Taliban fighters from Pakistan and Afghanistan frequently cross the mountainous borders of the two countries to launch attacks on local troops and Nato forces.

In Laghman province, two suspected US drone strikes recently killed four Taliban fightersas well.

Nato forces plan to wind down their combat mission in the country at the end of this month.


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