Senior Haqqani leader confirmed killed by drone in Pakistan
American drone-fired missiles killed a ranking member of the militant Haqqani network on Thursday in northwestern Pakistan, striking a group that Washington claims is the top threat in Afghanistan and is supported by Pakistani security forces, local intelligence officials said.
A senior U.S. official confirmed the death of the Haqqani commander, identifying him as Janbaz Zadran.
The strike came as U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman arrived in Pakistan to improve ties between Washington and Islamabad that have been severely strained by stepped-up American claims of Pakistan assistance to the Haqqanis.
Two other militants were killed in the attack close in the Haqqani stronghold of North Waziristan, the group’s main sanctuary along the Afghan border, said the Pakistani officials in the region. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to reporters.
They said the Haqqani member was a coordinator for the group and knew him as “Jalil.” One said he was related to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the network. The men were walking down a street when the two missiles hit, the officials said.
The missiles hit close to Dande Darpa Khel village, which is home to a large seminary with links to the Haqqanis.
The U.S. official Zadran was the most senior Haqqani leader in Pakistan to be taken off the battlefield. The official said Zadran helped the Haqqani network orchestrate attacks on troops in Kabul and southeastern Afghanistan. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.
Later Thursday, another pair of drone-fired missiles hit a militant position on hills close to the frontier in South Waziristan, killing six people, intelligence officials said. They said the militants were firing rockets and mortars across the border at an American base in Machadad Kot…