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2 children killed in Waziristan as drone strike targets terrorists

Officials say incident happened but don't confirm drone attack
Updated 16 Mar, 2023 08:05pm

Reports of a drone strike in Zangara, South Waziristan emerged late on Wednesday night leading to the deaths of two children. Official sources confirmed an incident but stopped short of a confirmation.

The reports, based on local sources, said that the incident took place in a marketplace at around 6pm. Two injured children were brought to Sararogha Hospital 30km away, but they succumbed to their wounds en route.

The administration said that investigations into the incident were continuing but nothing could be be clearly said about the nature of the strike.

An official statement emerged a day later. The Inter-Services Public Relations said in a statement on Thursday that at least two children died in an exchange of fire with terrorists in Zanghara, South Waziristan.

Security forces were conducting an operation after receiving information about the presence of terrorists in the area, it added. There is a likelihood that terrorists would use human shields, making it highly likely that any conflict would lead to civilian casualties.

“During an intense exchange of fire between security forces and terrorists, including mortar fire, eight terrorists have been killed, whereas two soldiers are injured,” it said.

There was considerable confusion over the nature of the incident. Locals said that it was a drone and the unmanned aircraft could be heard buzzing in the area. If confirmed as a drone strike, this would make it the first in Pakistan in four years, since 2018.

The sound is well known to people in the area who lived through over a decade of regular drone strikes. Locals call drones ‘bungunga’ after their distinctive bung bung sound. People who lived through the years spent fighting extremism say that the sound would leave them sleepless.

Between 2004 and 2018, the US carried out over 400 drone strikes in Pakistan. While they eliminated many major terrorists, including two successive heads of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud and Hakimullah Mehsud, civilians also died in the thousands.

According to the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, Pakistan showcased its Shahpar-II indigenous combat UAV at IDEAS 2022 in Karachi. The Shahpar ll is an unmanned combat aerial vehicle built by Global Industrial Defence Solutions of Pakistan. It was first launched in 2021 and is under production.

One local said that the terrorists were passing by a shop where people were sitting.

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South Waziristan

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