51 killed in US drone attacks in Pakistan

By Awais Saleem, IANS
Friday, December 17, 2010

ISLAMABAD - At least 51 suspected militants were killed in three US drone strikes within 24 hours in Khyber agency, Pakistan’s northwestern tribal area.

“All three attacks targeted hideouts of banned militant outfit Lashkar-i-Islam in Teerah valley in the Khyber agency”, Express TV reported Saturday.

“It is not known yet whether the chief of Lashkar-i-Islami Mangal Bagh has been taken out in the third attack Friday evening”, the channel said.

Mangal Bagh was a local thug in Khyber agency, 30 km from Peshawar, capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, who used to thrive on kidnapping for ransom and other crimes in the area.

His criminal activities grew as he developed close links with militant outfits such as the Taliban and Al Qaeda operating in Swat and Waziristan, bordering Afghanistan.

It is the most fatal drone strike within a single day since the attacks were launched in 2004. More than 200 such attacks have killed over 1,800 suspected militants including some high-profile targets like former Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

(Awais Saleem can be contacted at awais.saleem@ians.in)

Filed under: Terrorism

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