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Taliban chief's brother killed in US drone attack

By Rezaul H Laskar
September 30, 2009 13:40 IST
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Pakistan's new Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud's brother was among 15 militants killed in two United States drone attacks in the country's lawless tribal belt, reports said on Wednesday.

Hakimullah's brother Kalimullah was among six militants who were killed in the first drone attack in the Sararogha area of South Waziristan Agency on Tuesday afternoon, Express 24/7 news channel reported.

Nine militants were killed in the second drone attack, which was carried out in the evening in the Dandey Darpakhel area of North Waziristan Agency.

Several foreigners, including Afghan nationals, were among those killed in the two attacks.

Former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud was himself killed in a US drone attack in August. Since Baitullah's death, 65 Taliban militants, including foreigners, have been killed in drone strikes in South Waziristan, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The home of Irfan Shamankhel, the son of Taliban commander Sher Alam Mehsud, was targeted in the first drone attack in South Waziristan. The house of Mustafa, an Afghan national who had close relations with Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani, was targeted in the second attack in North Waziristan.

US spy planes have carried out over 70 missile attacks in Pakistan's tribal belt since last year.

Till early this year, the Pakistan government strongly protested against such attacks, describing them as a violation of the country's sovereignty and counter-productive for the war on terror.

In recent months, there have been few formal protests from the Foreign Office, though the issue of drone attacks figures in almost every weekly briefing by the foreign ministry's spokesman.

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Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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