ISLAMABAD: The CIA carried out six drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas during January and three senior militants were among the dead, the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism said in its monthly report.
All the US drone strikes took place in North Waziristan and South Waziristan tribal regions.
The report said heavy CIA drone campaign targeted both so-called “good” and “bad” Taliban. It said the CIA began 2013 with six drone strikes in nine days-more in any single month since August 2012.
With double the strikes hitting Pakistan this month compared with January last year, 2013 could see renewed intensity in the CIA drone programme, it added.
The report noted that 27 to 54 people according to media reports were killed in the six drone strikes in January 2013 and two of them were reportedly civilians.
“The month’s first strike killed Maulvi Nazir, “perhaps the most prized feather in (the) cap” of the drone programme to date, according to one commentator. Nazir co-ordinated attacks on Nato and Afghan forces in Afghanistan and had long been a target of the CIA,” the Bureau of Investigative Journalism report said.
“However, his group refrained from terrorist attacks within Pakistan, earning the label “good” Taliban.”
Brigadier Asad Munir, a retired commander of the ISI, told the Bureau his death could cause serious problems for Islamabad.
He said peace with Nazir was essential since Pakistan’s army cannot simultaneously fight both Nazir’s militants and the TTP-the so-called “bad” Taliban behind numerous lethal attacks in Pakistani cities,” the report explained.
It added: “Despite this, Pakistan’s response to the strikes in January was muted-notably so, according to Associated Press, as loud protestations had followed almost every strike in 2012.
“This could indicate that relations between the allies have improved from their 2012 nadir.
The CIA may also, have tried to mollify Islamabad by killing senior TTP commander Wali Mohammed Mahsud and announcing that Maulana Fazlullah, commander of the Swat Taliban, is now high on its kill list.
“Islamabad has repeatedly called on Nato and Afghan forces to crack down on the group.” It added.
The report pointed out that “A third high-value target death in January was of senior Al Qaeda Paramilitary commander Sheikh Yaseen Al Kuwaiti, reportedly killed at home with his wife and daughter by eight missiles.”