PESHAWAR: At least nine suspected militants including seven key commanders of banned outfit Lashkar-e-Islam (LI) were killed in a US drone strike in Nazyan district of Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province, near the Pak-Afghan border.
According to Afghan security officials, the area near Pakistan’s Khyber Agency came under attack in which two militant hideouts were attacked and at least nine militants were killed.
Shakir Sipah, a driver of Mangal Bagh who is the chief of the banned LI militant organisation, was among those killed in the drone attack.
Intelligence sources said that militants belonging to the proscribed Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and LI militants organisations were killed in the strike.
Other LI commanders who were killed were identified as Fazal Ameen, Shamat Khan Sipah and Wajid.
TTP’s commanders Yaseen, Zubair , Abdul Rehaman Shinwari and training instructor Zar Wali were also among the dead.
The sources further said that the unmanned aerial vehicle targeted a suspected militant hideout with two missiles, completely destroying the compound. Several people were also wounded in the strike.
The outlawed Lashkar-i-Islam (LI) led by Mangal Bagh had recently merged itself into the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) under a reorganisation planned by militants after coming under sustained attacks by Pakistan army.
The development comes at a time when security forces are making significant gains against militants in military operations in North Waziristan and Khyber Agency which were once considered their strong bastions.
A military operation titled ‘Khyber One’ and ‘Khyber Two’ was launched by security forces and aimed at targeting militants in Khyber Agency, particularly the Tirah Valley of Bara which borders Nazyan.
The operations in Khyber tribal region were launched amid operation Zarb-i-Azb being conducted by the Pakistan Army in North Waziristan tribal region.