Eighteen people including some terrorists were reportedly killed in three separate drone strikes in the South Waziristan area of Pakistan on Monday. Many of those killed are said to be foreigners including Arabs, Uzbeks and possibly one Turk.
The unmanned Predators — operated by the Central Intelligence Agency — first struck early in the morning when they fired missiles into a compound near a religious seminary just 10 km away from Wana, the main town of the tribal agency which has seen military operations to flush out terrorists.
Subsequently, the drones struck twice again at different parts of the tribal agency that borders Afghanistan. Besides the foreigners, the targets included some terrorists from Punjab.
Three days ago, on Friday, a drone attack on a compound in South Waziristan had reportedly taken out a high value target in Ilyas Kashmiri, considered by many as a chief military strategist of the al-Qaeda and the brain behind the Mumbai terror attack.
As in the case with Friday’s drone attack, this round also the Predators struck in an area controlled by Mullah Nasir whom the Pakistani security establishment considers a "good Taliban" though he has been quoted in sections of the media as supportive of not just the Taliban amir, Mullah Omar, but also al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden. Because of the peace agreement that the Pakistani military signed with Mullah Nasir, his area was left untouched during the operations in South Waziristan.
Meanwhile, the death toll in the Army-run bakery in Nowshera Cantonment on Sunday night went up to 18 and reportedly included a major’s wife and son. Unlike earlier reports which had suggested that the explosion had been triggered by a remote controlled device, police said it was a suicide blast and as is increasingly becoming the case, the bomber was a teenager.
With Nowshera having three cantonments, it has been coming under attack frequently because of the sizable presence of men in uniform. This spurt in incidents has affected education also as schools — particularly those teaching girls — have been receiving threats; forcing many a parent to keep their daughters away from school.