Afghanistan: U.S. drone kills Taliban commander

By Shadi Khan Saif

KABUL, Afghanistan (AA) – A U.S. drone strike has killed a top Taliban commander in southern Afghanistan, officials confirmed on Sunday.

Mohammad Yasin, governor of restive southern Helmand province, told Anadolu Agency that Mullah Abdul Manan was targeted along with his guards in the Nauzaad district late on Saturday.

He added the notorious Taliban commander involved in nationwide terrorist attacks succumbed to his wounds on Sunday.

According to the local Khama Press, Mullah Abdulu Rahim alias Mullah Abdul Manan — who was the group’s shadow governor for Helmand — was killed with his four comrades and two of his security guards.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed confirmed his death.

US drone strike kills 2 in northwestern Pakistan

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – A U.S. drone strike on Wednesday killed two Afghan nationals in Kurram Agency, northwestern tribal area of Pakistan, near its border with Afghanistan, local officials said.

The drone targeted a house in Spin Tal Dapa, an area bordering Kurram and Orakzai agencies, a local political administration official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

"Ahsanullah alias Khoraye and Nasir Mehmood were Afghan refugees who have been killed in the attack," he said, adding both of them were mid-level commanders of Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network.

The Foreign Office has condemned the attack saying the strike targeted a refugee camp.

"Pakistan has continued to emphasize to the U.S. the importance of sharing actionable intelligence so that appropriate action is taken against terrorists by our forces within our territory," it said in a statement.

This was the second drone attack this year. The first on Jan. 17 killed two suspected Afghan nationals in Kurram Agency.

In early January, U.S. President Donald Trump alleged Islamabad was harboring terrorists and cut military aid to the country.

More than 3,450 people have been killed in over 420 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, local media reports said.

According to international think tanks and human rights groups — including Amnesty International and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism — several unarmed civilians have also been killed in U.S. drone attacks.

Pakistan to act 'accordingly' against US drone strike

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan on Thursday said it would duly respond to any U.S drone strike on its soil.

"Pakistan army has made it clear that any [U.S] drone strike will be responded accordingly," Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dr Muhammad Faisal said during a weekly press briefing in capital Islamabad while responding to a question.

The rare reaction follows recent statements from top U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump, accusing Islamabad of "playing a double-game" and providing safe havens to militants fighting in war-torn Afghanistan.

Drone strikes have been a frequent tactic by the U.S forces since 2004 to target suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, mainly North and South Waziristan, which border Afghanistan.

There has been a significant decrease in drone strikes on Pakistani soil in recent years after the Pakistan army launched a full-scale onslaught on North Waziristan –a former stronghold of Pakistani Taliban– forcing militants to flee toward Afghanistan in June 2104.

According to local media, more than 3,450 people have been killed in 417 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. According to international think tanks and human rights groups, including Amnesty international and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 70 percent of drone victims were unarmed civilians.

Despite Pakistan's public objections to the U.S. drone strikes, it is rumored to have given tacit approval to the ongoing controversial operations. Pakistan has also developed its own drone to use in the militant-hit northwestern tribal belt.

Already frosty relations between the U.S. and Pakistan –the two allies in the so-called war against terrorism– have further nosedived since President Trump assumed office in January last year, mainly due to a clash of interests in Afghanistan.

-Japanese foreign minister's visit

Meanwhile, visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has appreciated Pakistan's sacrifices and contributions in the fight against terrorism.

Kono, who is on a two-day trip to Islamabad, held separate meetings with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed issues relating to economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, and peace and stability in the region, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

Asif briefed his Japanese counterpart on Pakistan's counterterrorism efforts targeting all terrorists, irrespective of their origin or orientation.

Kono, for his part, expressed appreciation for the sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan in this regard and stressed the need for a coordinated international effort in the fight against extremism and terrorism, the statement added.

In an interview with local English daily Dawn on Thursday, Kono said Japan "highly" acknowledged Pakistan's "serious" efforts in the fight against terrorism.

"Japan has firmly supported the efforts of the government of Pakistan and its people standing against terrorism," he said, adding Japan would continue to work with Pakistan with an emphasis on cooperation in the field of counterterrorism.

Pakistan to act ‘accordingly’ against US drone strike

By Aamir Latif

KARACHI, Pakistan (AA) – Pakistan on Thursday said it would duly respond to any U.S drone strike on its soil.

"Pakistan army has made it clear that any [U.S] drone strike will be responded accordingly," Foreign Ministry spokesman, Dr Muhammad Faisal said during a weekly press briefing in capital Islamabad while responding to a question.

The rare reaction follows recent statements from top U.S. officials, including President Donald Trump, accusing Islamabad of "playing a double-game" and providing safe havens to militants fighting in war-torn Afghanistan.

Drone strikes have been a frequent tactic by the U.S forces since 2004 to target suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, mainly North and South Waziristan, which border Afghanistan.

There has been a significant decrease in drone strikes on Pakistani soil in recent years after the Pakistan army launched a full-scale onslaught on North Waziristan –a former stronghold of Pakistani Taliban– forcing militants to flee toward Afghanistan in June 2104.

According to local media, more than 3,450 people have been killed in 417 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. According to international think tanks and human rights groups, including Amnesty international and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 70 percent of drone victims were unarmed civilians.

Despite Pakistan's public objections to the U.S. drone strikes, it is rumored to have given tacit approval to the ongoing controversial operations. Pakistan has also developed its own drone to use in the militant-hit northwestern tribal belt.

Already frosty relations between the U.S. and Pakistan –the two allies in the so-called war against terrorism– have further nosedived since President Trump assumed office in January last year, mainly due to a clash of interests in Afghanistan.

-Japanese foreign minister's visit

Meanwhile, visiting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono has appreciated Pakistan's sacrifices and contributions in the fight against terrorism.

Kono, who is on a two-day trip to Islamabad, held separate meetings with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif and army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and discussed issues relating to economic and trade cooperation between the two sides, and peace and stability in the region, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

Asif briefed his Japanese counterpart on Pakistan's counterterrorism efforts targeting all terrorists, irrespective of their origin or orientation.

Kono, for his part, expressed appreciation for the sacrifices made by the people of Pakistan in this regard and stressed the need for a coordinated international effort in the fight against extremism and terrorism, the statement added.

In an interview with local English daily Dawn on Thursday, Kono said Japan "highly" acknowledged Pakistan's "serious" efforts in the fight against terrorism.

"Japan has firmly supported the efforts of the government of Pakistan and its people standing against terrorism," he said, adding Japan would continue to work with Pakistan with an emphasis on cooperation in the field of counterterrorism.

US drone kills ‘3 militants’ in northwestern Pakistan

By Islamuddin Sajid

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AA) – At least three suspected militants were killed in a U.S. drone strike in northwestern Kurram Agency near the Afghan border early Thursday morning, according to an administrative official.

The slain suspects were said to be from the Haqqani Network.

The armed drone targeted a suspected house of Rasheed Haqqani, a supposed key commander of Haqqani Network, in Ghuzgari area of Kurram — one of the seven tribal districts in northwestern Pakistan’s tribal region, the official told Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.

The house was completely destroyed, the official added.

Drone strikes near Pakistan-Afghanistan border region have increased ever since the U.S. President, Donald Trump, announced a new policy for Afghanistan-South Asia in August this year.

Recently, two suspected commanders of Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan were also killed in a U.S. drone attack in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border in October.

More than 3,450 people have been killed in over 420 drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004, Pakistani media reports.

According to international think-tanks and human rights groups — including Amnesty International and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism — several unarmed civilians have been killed in U.S. drone attacks.

US forces kill dozens of Daesh fighters in Yemen

By Safvan Allahverdi

WASHINGTON (AA) – U.S. forces killed dozens of Daesh militants in a strike on two of its training camps in Yemen’s al Bayda governorate, the Pentagon said Monday.

“ISIS used the camps to train militants to conduct terror attacks using AK-47s, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and endurance training,” it said in a statement, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, another name for Daesh.

The Pentagon did not describe how the strikes were conducted, but the Associated Press has claimed that drones were used during the strikes.

Daesh has used ungoverned spaces of Yemen to plot, direct, instigate, supply and recruit for attacks against America and its allies around the world, the statement said, adding Yemen has been a hub for terrorist recruiting, training and transit for years.

"In coordination with the government of Yemen, U.S. forces are supporting ongoing counterterrorism operations in Yemen against ISIS and al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula to degrade the groups' ability to coordinate external terror attacks and limit their ability to hold territory seized from the legitimate government of Yemen," it added.

Drone strike kills 3 Qaeda militants in Yemen

By Zakaria al-Kamali

SANAA, Yemen (AA) – Three suspected al-Qaeda militants were killed in a drone strike in Yemen’s southeastern Shabwah province late Tuesday, according to a local official.

The unmanned drone struck two vehicles in al-Hawtah district in eastern Shabwah, the source told Anadolu Agency.

“Two other suspected militants were injured in the attack,” the source added anonymously due to restrictions on speaking to media.

According to the official, the drone attack took place shortly after al-Qaeda militants attacked a checkpoint manned by tribal fighters in the area, killing one person and injuring three others.

Although the official did not identify the drone, recent weeks have witnessed U.S. drone strikes against militants from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which Washington views as a persistent threat to the region and its own interests.

According to the U.S. Central Command, 17 al-Qaeda militants were killed in drone attacks in Yemen in September.