US drone strikes kill Pakistani Taliban commander

A US drone strike killed a Pakistani Taliban commander, Khan Said, alias Sajna, and three more people, when missiles struck his pick-up truck in Margha village in the Birmal district of Paktika province in Afghanistan. (US Air Force)
Updated 09 February 2018
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US drone strikes kill Pakistani Taliban commander

PESHAWAR: A pair of suspected US missile strikes killed a senior Pakistani Taliban deputy and other militants in the border regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, officials said on Friday.
Four Pakistani intelligence officials and three Taliban commanders told Reuters on Friday that two separate US missile strikes on Wednesday killed the fighters.
One of the strikes, they said, killed a Pakistani Taliban commander, Khan Said, alias Sajna, and three more people, when missiles struck his pick-up truck in Margha village of Birmal district in Paktika province of Afghanistan.
The NATO-led Operation Resolute Support in Afghanistan said it had no information about the strike.
The officials sought anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the information. They are based in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and have informants on the ground on both sides of the border.
They said on Friday they have also been picking up militants’ chatter through phone intercepts in which they were talking about Sajna’s killing. Three Pakistani Taliban commanders confirmed their account.
Sajna has been an important militant commander of the Pakistani Taliban and had close links with the Afghan Taliban, the officials said.
Two of the officials said they were trying to confirm reports of another suspected US drone strike in North Waziristan on Pakistani side of the border.
The second strike hit a compound in Gurwek town of North Waziristan, killing seven militants, the three Taliban commanders said.
North Waziristan and Paktika province in Afghanistan are adjacent to the border, and the officials and the militant commanders may have been reporting the same strike as two separate ones.
The border region has long been home to local and Al-Qaeda linked foreign militants. It is off limits to journalists and verifying any information independently is difficult.
US drone strikes in the border regions of Pakistan have picked up since US President Donald Trump took office in January 2017, though they are a long way off their peak in 2010.
Relations between Washington and Islamabad have frayed in recent months after Trump’s angry tweet on Jan. 1 about Pakistan’s “lies and deceit” over its alleged support for the Afghan Taliban and their allies. Last month, the United States suspended about $2 billion assistance to Islamabad.
Pakistan denies sheltering militants and accuses Washington of not respecting Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on militancy.
“There’re still several drones flying here,” one of the three Taliban commanders said on Friday speaking by phone from the Paktika province.


India flood death toll shoots up to 324

Updated 17 August 2018
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India flood death toll shoots up to 324

  • More than 10,000 kilometers of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged across the state
  • A heavy rainfall ‘red-alert’ has been issued across much of the state, which is home to around 33 million people

KOCHI, India: More than 300 people have been killed in the Indian state of Kerala by the worst flooding to hit the region in a century, authorities said Friday, as troop reinforcements stepped up rescue efforts.
The state — a key international tourist draw with its tropical mountains and beaches — has been battered by record monsoon rainfall in recent days and is “facing the worst flood in 100 years,” chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said.
In a Twitter statement released by his office, he said there had been “324 lives lost,” a tripling of the death toll in the last 24 hours.


Vijayan added that 223,139 people have been moved to more than 1,500 relief camps.
With thousands still trapped, power and communication lines down and fresh alerts of further torrential rain, authorities warned of even more trouble ahead.
More than 30 military helicopters and 320 boats are attempting rescues across Kerala.

Extra troops have been sent in and local fishermen have also joined the operation with their boats.
People all over the state of 33 million people have made panic-stricken appeals on social media for help, saying they cannot get through to rescue services.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was set to arrive in the stricken state on Friday night.