PESHAWAR: A senior commander of the Haqqani network was among two others reported to have been killed in a drone strike in Spin Thall, an area bordering Hangu district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Orakzai and North Waziristan agencies, on early Tuesday morning.
The two other killed in the pre-dawn attack were foot soldiers of the organisation from Paktita.
Sources said Abu Bakr Haqqani, who was killed in the strike, was a senior leader of the Haqqani network.
Police and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) administration confirmed that a person named Abu Bakr was killed in the attack, but were unable to ascertain his affiliation.
Security forces, political administration and police said the house targeted in the drone strike had been reduced to ashes.
The authorities in Hangu and the Orakzai political administration found three bodies in the debris. However, they denied that the strike took place in their jurisdiction or a settled district.
Deputy superintendent police Hangu Shaukat Bukhari said the attack took place in the jurisdiction of Fata. Tehsildar Khaista Akbar also confirmed that the attack took place, but denied that the area was a part of Fata.
Separately, Sirajuddin Haqqani, in his alleged new audio clip, has denied involvement in an attack in Kabul’s diplomatic quarter on May 31 that killed over 150 people.
“The Islamic emirate of Afghanistan will never take part in any such attack in which lives of innocent are claimed, Haqqani said. “We don’t have [any] connection [with the] Kabul attack, nor took part or any of our local commanders had ordered [to do] so,” he added.
“We condemn the attack and [are] remorseful on the demise of our Afghan citizens.”
Haqqani went on to say, “I assure you that soon the people of Afghanistan will commemorate the day of US defeat in the near future.”
He said the invasion of US had divided the country on an ethnic basis. “We should be united against such aggression from the US and its allies to divide the Afghans on such basis.”
(With additional input by our correspondents from North Waziristan and Hangu)
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