NEW: Pakistan's government condemns drone strikes
At least five drones were flying near Miranshah city
The first strike occurred a few hours earlier
A high-level commander with the Haqqani network, Haji Gul, was among those killed
A U.S. drone Wednesday fired on an area in northwestern Pakistan, according to two Pakistani intelligence sources and a witness.
A high-level commander with the Haqqani network, Haji Gul, was among those killed in the latest drone strike in North Waziristan Agency.
Other key Afghan Taliban commanders killed in the strike included Mufti Sofian and Abu Bakar.
Intelligence and local Taliban sources said the latest drone strike targeted explosive-laden vehicles meant for a mission across the Afghan border. They said the Taliban were preparing to leave when they came under attack.
At least five drones were flying near Miranshah city when the strike occurred, the local intelligence officials said. The first strike in six months occurred a few hours earlier.
Pakistan’s government condemned the strikes.
“These strikes are a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the Foreign Office said in a statement. Additionally, these strikes “have a negative impact on the Government’s efforts to bring peace and stability in Pakistan and the region.”
Northwestern Pakistan is home to loosely governed tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan, and the area is a base for foreign fighters and a place of refuge for members of the Islamist militant Haqqani movement.
The drone strike comes just days after two brazen attacks on or near Pakistan’s largest airport in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi.
Earlier Wednesday, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan claimed that it carried out one of the attacks – the weekend airport assault that resulted in an hours-long siege and left 36 people dead, including the assailants.
The claim was made in an e-mail that included pictures that the militant group said were of the 10 attackers.
The militants said the attack was carried out with the Pakistani Taliban, which has confirmed that members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan conducted the Karachi airport attack, Pakistani Taliban commander Abdullah Bahar Mehsud told CNN in a phone conversation.
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