Suspected drone strike kills five militants in Pakistan
A suspected US drone fired two missiles into a house in north-west Pakistan Thursday, killing five militants from the Haqqani network and injuring four, intelligence officials said.
The strike came hours before the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Marc Grossman, arrived in Pakistan to ease strained relations and discuss further cooperation against terrorism.
The pre-dawn drone attack took place in the Dande Darpa Khel area of North Waziristan, where a Taliban group led by Afghan commander Jalaluddin Haqqani has bases and training centres, the officials said.
"According to our information, the target of the attack was Jalil Haqqani, in charge of communication for the Haqqani network," said an intelligence official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "He and four others died in the drone strike."
Jalil was an Afghan national and a close relative of Jalaluddin Haqqani, said another intelligence official who also sought anonymity.
Since 2008, the United States has escalated its strikes by unmanned aircraft against Taliban and al-Qaeda militants hiding in Pakistan's rugged tribal region, from which they conduct cross-border attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The prime target of the recent drone strikes has been the Haqqani network, which is blamed for deadly attacks that include a recent 20-hour siege at the US embassy and NATO offices in September.
The US has pressed Pakistan to take military action in North Waziristan, but Islamabad has said its forces are overstretched because of operations against militants in other areas in the north-west.
US officials recently alleged that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency supports the Haqqani network, worsening already strained relations between the two countries.
But efforts are under way from the two sides to improve ties. Grossman, who arrived in Islamabad Thursday morning, was due to hold talks with Pakistan's civilian and military leadership.