Current Affairs Opinion

Suspected US drone attack on Damadola

By Azhar Masood
Damadolla a town in tribal agency of Bajour became second time target of two missiles killing dozens of people including women and children and leaving several injured. Political Administration said unknown missiles hit village of Damadollah killing at least 10 people. Local Taleban commander Maulana Omar said, ‘this time target was the residence of Maulana Ubaidullah who has greater degree of influence over militant Talebans. Maulana Omar however said this strike from across Pakistan’s border from Afghanistan will not hamper ongoing peace talks with the Federal government and Pakistan’s tribal militant talebans. The strike was in the Bajaur tribal area close to Afghanistan. Unmanned American drones have targeted a number of suspected al-Qaeda and Taleban targets in the area this year. A US Predator drone apparently targeted al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Damadola in January 2006, but missed him.

This correspondent learnt from Governor NWFP’s Secretariat that about 30 people had gathered for a formal dinner near the same village, targeted on Wednesday. Senator Zahid of ANP told, “ever since our government was established we have been treading the path of negotiations rather than resorting to force. Our leader Aswandyar Wali Khan had conveyed our two pronged strategy both to the Federal government and the US diplomats stationed in Islamabad.

According to local villagers unmanned US aircraft had been patrolling the skies since early morning. Neither Pakistan nor the US confirm American air strikes, which are condemned in the country as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty. But the country’s newly elected government has asked the US to stop striking within its territory to aid its policy of negotiating with pro-Taleban militants. Locals expect a violent reaction Thursday from tribesmen of Bajour Agency.-Courtesy Arab News

Comments: US has been intruding lately in Pakistani territory and Government officials have been denying the fact ironically. Again military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said that there was no army in the area and he had no knowledge of any missile strike. According to the sources this is the third missile strike by American planes on Damadola. Eighteen people, including 14 members of one family, were killed when a residential compound was hit on Jan 13, 2006. It was reported at the time that the strike had been carried on faulty intelligence that Al Qaeda No. 2 Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri had come there to attend a diner. It was hit again by a pilotless predator on Oct 30, 2006, killing 82 people, many children among them.

Though Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar said the Taliban believed that the US army had initiated the attack to undermine peace efforts, adding, “We will avenge this but will continue talks with the government.” Several rounds between Talebans and government to maintain peace have been taken place.

Sadly The missile attack is reported to have triggered a chain of explosions, apparently caused by a stockpile of explosives. Several people are thought to have been injured, but little information came out of the area because militants prevented local people from undertaking any rescue operation.

About the author

Azhar Masood

Azhar Masood is Controller of News in PTV, and Chief Instructor of PTV Academy, working for Arab News. He has Covered Iraq War from Baghdad for CNN, BBC, FOX News, and Al-Jazeera and other regional channels. He covered conflict in Bosnia Herzegovina. He interviewed Yasir Arafat of Palestine, Paul Wolfoweit, Prime Minister Jean Ghteyan of Canada, Dr. Amar Musa of Egypt, Mr. Haris Slajic, Prime Minister of Bosnia Dr. Akbar Ali Vallayati, former Foreign Minister of Iran, President Kumaratunge of Sri Lanka, Mr. Kumar Su Bramanyem, Director of National Defence Institute of India, Mr. Hamid Karzai President of Afghanistan, Dr. Ahmad Chalabi of Iraq National Congress, Mr. Hoshyar Zubari, Vice President Kurdish Democratic Party of Iraq

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