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.


Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

(Shutterstock image)
Updated 21 May 2018
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Man rams vehicle into restaurant in eastern US, kills 2; injuries

BESSEMER CITY, US: A man intentionally rammed a vehicle into a North Carolina restaurant busy with a lunchtime crowd Sunday, killing his daughter and another person and injuring several others, authorities said Sunday.
Bessemer City Police said in a statement that preliminary evidence indicates the man purposely drove into the Surf and Turf Lodge about noon Sunday. Footage from the scene showed emergency crews treating people on the ground outside the restaurant as shocked patrons milled about afterward. Killed was 26-year-old Katelyn Tyler Self, the daughter of the driver and a Gaston County Sheriff’s Office deputy. Authorities haven’t released the name of the second person who died.
Police said the driver, Roger Self, was arrested after the car had smashed its way fully inside into the restaurant in Bessemer City, about 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Charlotte. Authorities did not immediately make clear what charges Self faces though authorities said they were opening a homicide investigation.
The Gaston Gazette identified Roger Self as a businessman from Dallas, North Carolina.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police spokesman Rob Tufano called the crash a “mass casualty” incident, and reports said some of the victims were flown by helicopter to Carolinas Medical Center. There was no immediate report on the number of injured people or the severity of their injuries.
“He drove his car into the building, killing people, so that’s why we took him into custody immediately,” Bessemer City Police Chief Thomas Ellis Jr. said.
Photographs taken at the scene showed a shattered opening in a restaurant wall, where the car had smashed inside the building.
The Gaston Gazette reported that wait staff said Self had initially taken his family into the restaurant and had them seated. He then went back out to his vehicle and drove at a high rate of speed into the area where they were sitting, they said. The newspaper identified the vehicle as a sports utility vehicle.
Katelyn Self was a four-year veteran of the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Alan Cloninger told The Charlotte Observer. She worked as a corporal in the jail and was off duty when she was killed.
Cloninger choked up as he spoke about the crash.
“We’re suffering a little bit right now,” he said.
A 2017 profile in the Gazette said Roger Self ran a private investigations business called Southeastern Loss Management. It said the business opened in 1989 and mostly helped companies investigate employees’ wrongdoing.