12 militants killed in fresh US drone attack in Pakistan

The drone fired several Hellfire missiles at the militant hideout, suspected to belong to Afghan Taliban warlord Jalaludin Haqqani at Danday Darpakhel near Miranshah, a key town in North Waziristan Agency.

Nine militants were killed instantly in the attack late last night, while three bodies were pulled out of the debris today, according to local reports.

It was not immediately known if any of the sons or close aides of the Afghan warlord were in the house when it was hit by the missiles. Haqqani holds considerable clout in Khost and Paktia areas in eastern Afghanistan which border Waziristan.

All those killed are believed to be Afghans. The Haqqani network is a powerful group based in northwest Pakistan closely linked to Al-Qaeda and known for its ruthless and sophisticated attacks, including an assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai in 2008.

The  Haqqani network specially Jalaludin's eldest son Sirajuddin has now become the focus of attention of the American forces, after the killing of Tehrik-i- Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

This was the fourth US drone attack this month in North Waziristan, where militants linked to Taliban and Al Qaida are said to be hiding.

The new drone attack comes, as US media reports said that Obama Administration was considering several options on Afghanistan as alternatives to sending still more troops there.

The reports said the White House is now considering a strategy mooted by Vice President Joe Biden that would make Washington focus more on stepped-up missile attacks by US drones on al-Qaida and Taliban targets on the Pakistani side of the border.
But to be effective, such attacks require Pakistani intelligence, the report said.

The Pakistanis are believed to have withheld intelligence for years about key suspects in the Afghan Taliban, but the US has been making progress in recent months securing their cooperation against certain targets.

US and NATO officials have long believed that much of the direction, manpower, money and weapons fueling the Afghan insurgency comes from across the border in Pakistan, particularly Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who is thought to be based close to the city of Quetta in Baluchistan province, and the network commanded by Siraj Haqqani in the Waziristan tribal areas.

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