US drones kill 2 lead­ers in Pak­istan: al-Qaida in In­dia

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

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.

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