At Least 14 Killed as US Drone Strikes South Waziristan

Taliban Spokesman Insists Only Civilians Were Killed

by Jason Ditz,, August 11, 2009

A US drone strike into the South Waziristan Agency of Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) struck a house in the village of Ladda, killing at least 14 people and wounding several others. The village was near last Wednesday’s drone strike, which officials claim killed TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud.

Pakistani officials say the house attacked today was a “militant hideout” or conversely a “training ground,” but a spokesman for an unnamed Taliban-style organization in the area insisted it was a civilian residence and only civilians were killed in the strike.

It was the first US attack in the region since last week’s strike, and the status of Baitullah Mehsud is still unknown. Pakistani and US officials insist they are certain he was killed, but they also claimed to be certain Hakimullah Mehsud, one of his aides, was killed in a battle days later. Hakimullah has since emerged to insisted that neither he nor Baitullah is actually dead.

TTP spokesman Maulvi Omar says that Baitullah is being held at an undisclosed relative’s house and that he is ill. Baitullah has diabetes and has sometimes been in failing health as a result.

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