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US drone attacks intensify as Pakistan Army continues brutal operation in North Waziristan

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A US drone strike on Thursday (Oct 9) killed at least four suspected fighters in a restive northwestern Pakistani tribal area on the Afghan border taking the death toll from a flurry of such strikes this week to 25, Al Jazeera reported on Friday.

The attack took place at Laman village in North Waziristan where the Pakistani military has been waging a brutal operation since June. "A US drone fired two missiles at a vehicle and killed at least four militants and one was wounded," the AFP news agency quoted a senior Pakistani official as saying.

The death toll could not be verified through independent sources as the area is out of reach of independent media. "The area is off-limits to journalists, making it impossible to verify the number and identify the dead independently," Al Jazeera pointed out.

There has been a spike in drone attacks in North Waziristan this month with three attacks within 36 hours. Thursday's strike was the tenth US drone attack in North Waziristan Agency this year.

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While US intensified drone attacks, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) jets bombed targets in Northern Waziristan killing at least 40 people which officials described as militants. The attacks focused on the town of Mir Ali, Shawal and surrounding areas of North Waziristan.

A security official was quoted by AFP as saying that Thursday's strikes were "in retaliation for recent Taliban attacks." Militants killed an army major near the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday, and a soldier died in a separate border post attack the same day in South Waziristan, security officials said.

Pakistan's mercenary army launched a brutal operation in North Waziristan on June 15, 2014 at the behest of Washington which foots the bill for Pakistan army operations in tribal territories. In June last, the United States was reported releasing the next $380 million tranche of outstanding dues worth $1.6 billion owed to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) established by the US in 2001 to cover some of the cost certain countries incurred in the fight against terrorism. Since 9/11, the US has disbursed over $12 billion on account of CSF to Pakistan. It has released $674 million since the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif came into power.

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The behind a smoke screen military operation in North Waziristan has displaced more than a million people who are in protest against the pathetic conditions of refugee camps.

On Thursday, a Jirga was held at Peshawar where Chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Chief Siraj-ul-Haq, warned that if the government failed to resolve the problems faced by the displaced people of North Waziristan within 30 days then a protest sit-in will be launched in Islamabad.

The JI chief also urged the federal government to ensure early and respectable return of the IDPs to the areas cleared of militants as declared by the army, which claimed 90 percent areas of North Waziristan have been cleared by the military.

Siraj-ul-Haq said it was the wrong and prejudiced policies of the bureaucracy in Islamabad which led to the establishment of Bangladesh in East Pakistan as Pakistan army was unable to defend East Pakistan. "On December 16 (1971) Dhaka fell and 90,000 Pakistan Army surrendered to Indian army (which was fighting on the side of Bangladesh rebels in East Pakistan)." Siraj-ul-Haq described the fall of Dhaka as the second biggest fall in the Islamic history after the fall of Gharanada in 1492 which brought to an end 780 years of Muslim rule in the Spanish peninsula.

Siraj-ul-Haq said that no Pakistani parliament was able to probe the fall of East Pakistan and why East Pakistan became of Bangladesh. He said Pakistan's tribal people are patriot but that the wrong policies of Islamabad establishment are pushing the country towards the situation of East Pakistan.

Writing in Pakistan's leading newspaper Dawn, a former diplomat Ayaz Wazir wrote about Waziristan: "The operation has entered its fourth month and there is still no indication of it coming to an end any soon, thus shattering all hopes of finding valuable items that the IDPs had left behind intact. Stories coming out of that area are not encouraging either; villages have been flattened and bazaars razed to the ground, a common practice in the tribal areas during all these operations for the last so many years."

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Ayaz Wazir asked: why has the government resorted to military operations, to begin with, when other options were available? "The seeds of discontent that have been sown during all the years can turn into a catastrophe much beyond our expectations unless some remedial action is not taken in time," he concluded.

 

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
 

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