US drones kill 2 leaders in Pakistan: al-Qaida in India
U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan killed two leaders of al-Qaida’s Indian branch earlier this year, a spokesman for the militants said Sunday, a major blow to the affiliate only months after its creation.
In an audio message, spokesman Usama Mahmood identified the dead as deputy chief Ahmed Farooq and Qari Imran, in charge of the group’s Afghan affairs. Mahmood said a Jan. 5 drone strike in North Waziristan killed Imran, while a later drone strike killed Farooq. His claim corresponds with dates that previously reported suspected U.S. drone attacks were carried out in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghan border.
Mahmood said that Farooq’ s real name was Raja Suleman and that he graduated from Islamabad’s International Islamic University. Mahmoud said Imran’s real name was Hidayatullah and that he was from Pakistan’s central city of Multan in Punjab province.
Mahmood also lashed out against Pakistan army over its operation in North Waziristan.
“This operation is being carried out under direct supervision of American forces, its leadership and with their direct help through drones and jets,” Mahmood said. “Pakistan’s army is in fact just providing intelligence against the targets America wants to hit.”
Mahmoud said U. S. drone strikes had killed some 50 members of his group. Pakistani officials had no immediate comment on the claims.