MIR ALI, Pakistan - At least one suspected US drone fired on a house in Pakistan’s volatile tribal region yesterday, killing 20 people in the 11th such attack since militants in the area orchestrated a deadly suicide bombing against the CIA in Afghanistan, intelligence officials said.
Four missiles slammed into the house in the Shaktoi area of South Waziristan, the same region where a drone strike Thursday targeted a meeting of militant commanders in an apparently unsuccessful attempt to kill Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud.
The militant leader helped organize the Dec. 30 attack against a remote CIA base in Afghanistan’s Khost Province that killed seven of the agency’s employees and appeared in a video alongside the Jordanian man who carried out the bombing.
Analysts suspect the Haqqani network, an Al Qaeda-linked Afghan Taliban faction based in North Waziristan, also helped carry out the CIA attack, the worst against the spy agency in decades.
Since the bombing, the United States has carried out 11 suspected drone strikes in North and South Waziristan, an unprecedented volley of attacks since the CIA-led program began in earnest in Pakistan two years ago.
The house targeted in the attack yesterday was being used by Usman Jan, the head of the Al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, intelligence officials said. Five Uzbeks were killed in the strike, but it was unclear if Jan was among them. Jan’s predecessor, Tahir Yuldash, was killed in a drone strike in South Waziristan last year.
The other 15 people killed in the strike yesterday were Pakistani Taliban, said the officials.
Four more militants were seriously wounded.