Pakistan’s indigenously developed armed drone took out a number of suspected terrorists in South Waziristan in its first night mission on Thursday as separate air strikes in Khyber Agency left at least 21 more suspected militants dead.
“A number of terrorists were killed in a [Pakistani military] drone strike in South Waziristan,” the military’s media wing, the Inter-Services Public Relations, said in a statement. “It was the first night strike by Burraq with pinpoint accuracy,” it added without providing details.
Pakistan reportedly started work on the armed drone capability back in 2009. Burraq was successfully tested along with the indigenously developed Barq laser-guided missile in March this year. It carried out its first strike in September this year, killing three ‘high-profile’ terrorists in North Waziristan, according to the military.
A senior military official told The Express Tribune that the drone technology would add to the country’s existing anti-terror campaign. The official said Pakistan could take out ‘high-profile terrorists’ using the state-of-the-art drone technology.
Three dozen suspected terrorists were killed in separate air strikes close to the Pakistan-Afghan border on Thursday. According to the ISPR, the latest air strikes targeted militant hideouts in the Rajgal and Tirah areas of Khyber Agency.
On October 11, at least 22 terrorists were killed in air strikes by the warplanes in the North Waziristan tribal agency. Six compounds of terrorists were decimated in the air raids in Shawal Valley, according to the military’s media wing. The strategic valley is located on the confluence of borders between North and South Waziristan agencies.
The latest air strikes took place amid recent statement by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif in which he called for close coordination and better border management on both sides of Pak-Afghan border as a pre-requisite for long-term peace and stability in the region.
Pakistan launched a full-scale military offensive in the restive North Waziristan Agency in June last year. Military said a majority of the areas in the tribal region bordering Afghanistan are now under its control and operation is under way in the remaining few pockets. The government recently informed the parliamentary panel that troops would stay in the tribal areas till 2019 in order to stabilise the region after years of unrest.
As a result of the concerted military campaign, there has been considerable decline in the number of militant attacks across the country in recent months.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 23rd, 2015.