US urges NWA offensive as drones kill 19 in south


At least 19 suspected militants were killed and several others injured in three US drone attacks in Birmal Tehsil, South Waziristan on Monday, as General James N Mattis, commander of the United States Central Command (CENTCOM) met Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman General Khalid Shameem Wynne and stressed the need for a full-scale operation in North Waziristan Agency. The slain militants reportedly included some Arab nationals, sheltering with local militants. In the first attack, three missiles were fired by a pilot-less US drone at a madrassa occupied by Arab militants associated with al Qaeda in the Wocha Dana area. Eight militants were killed and several others injured in the missile attack.
A house abandoned by tribesmen and converted into a compound by the Punjabi Taliban was the second target of the US drone. The third attack came eight hours later when two missiles were fired at a vehicle in the Daray Nishtar area of Shawal. At least 11 suspected militants were killed in the two attacks. Mattis and Wynne, meanwhile, discussed the possibility of a full-scale operation in North Waziristan in their meeting at Joint Staff Headquarters, Chaklala, but an official in Islamabad said the US and Pakistan had not reached any agreement on the nature and timing of such an operation.
The two military leaders decided to continue with the talks to remove differences on the military offensive in North Waziristan, and Mattis said achieving peace in Afghanistan was not possible without Pakistan.
The two commanders also discussed intelligence cooperation against al Qaeda and the Taliban, with both agreeing to move ahead with anti-terrorism collaboration, said the official. He refused, however, to confirm or deny when asked whether Pakistan provided any information to American officials that led to the reported killing of dreaded al Qaeda-linked militant Ilyas Kashmiri in a drone strike on Friday. He said the commanders expressed satisfaction over the revival of intelligence cooperation between Pakistan and the US to track down terrorists, which came to halt in the wake of a US covert operation in Abbottabad on May 2 to kill al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. The decision to revive intelligence sharing was reached during the recent visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen to Islamabad to put the strained bilateral ties back on track.