AFGHANISTAN: Hizb-e-Islami, an Afghan Islamist militant group, claims it has brought down a U.S. drone aircraft in the Logar province of Afghanistan. In an undated video procured by Reuters a battered drone appears to be lying on the ground. A reporter from the Dunya News television channel, which also procured the video, said a spokesman of the Hizb-e-Islami had called to tell him that his group had downed three drones in Afghanistan in the past month.
The Hizb-e-Islami, headed by top Afghan militant commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, operates in North East Afghanistan and is viewed as the country’s most important rebel group after the Taliban. American pilot-less aircraft regularly fire rockets in Waziristan as the U.S. officials say the area is the launching pad for cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.
Tribesmen say innocent people are targeted by the U.S. aircraft. On Sunday (January 23), a U.S. drone aircraft fired two missiles targeting a vehicle and a house in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal region on the Afghan border, killing at least four militants, local intelligence officials said.
Shortly afterwards, another missile was fired from a drone in the same area, killing two militants riding on a motorbike. The frequency of the attacks has more than doubled last year compared to 2009. Most of the estimated 100 missile attacks last year inside Pakistan have taken place in North Waziristan. The yearly report of the Conflict Monitoring Centre (CMC) says that at least 2,043 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in unauthorised US attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas over the past five years.