PESHAWAR, Pakistan: At least eight militants were killed on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) in two daylight US drone attacks in Pakistan’s restive tribal regions, officials said, taking the death toll to 21 after four strikes in three days.
The unusual flurry of attacks could be linked to intelligence regarding a high-value target, analysts say, though none of the casualties so far have been named.
The latest strike targeted a home in the Datta Khel area of the North Waziristan tribal district, where the Pakistani military has been waging a major offensive since June.
“The drone fired two missiles, killing three people and injuring five. They were Uzbeks,” said a security official, adding it took place at 2:30 p.m. (9:30 a.m. Manila time).
A government official con-firmed the casualties and said the strike occurred as the militants were holding a meeting.
An earlier strike targeted a home in the Shawal district of neighboring South Waziristan district, killing five, according to two security officials.
“A US drone fired three missiles targeting a house, killing five militants,” one of them told Agence France-Presse.
The death toll from a drone strike in the same area on Monday was eight, while another attack the previous day killed five militants, authorities have said.
Talat Masood, a retired general and security analyst, said the frequency of strikes was unusually high.
“The frequency is higher than it has been in the past. It seems they are trying to target some-thing very important as far as they are con-cerned. They seem to be focusing on him or that group,” he said.
The semi-autonomous tribal region has for years been a hideout for Islamist militants of all stripes—including Al-Qaeda and the homegrown Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as well as foreign fighters such as Uzbeks and Uighurs.