US aborted drone attack on Sirajuddin Haqqani in Pak over fear of civilian deaths

February 23rd, 2011 - 5:46 pm ICT by ANI  

Lahore, Feb 23(ANI): The United States had reportedly passed up a chance to kill Haqqani network leader Sirajuddin Haqqani last year, when CIA authorities chose against firing a missile from a predator drone to avoid civilian deaths.

According to the Daily Times, the incident was one of at least three occasions when a militant was identified on video and a shot was available, but US officials decided against firing.

Meanwhile, a Pakistani official said that allowing high-value targets to escape reflected a decision by the US since August 2010 to use greater caution in the drone strikes.

Civilian casualties in drone attacks on insurgents in Pakistan’s tribal regions have generated a powerful anti-American backlash in the past.

Sirajuddin fights against American and coalition forces from his base within North Waziristan, where it is claimed that he provides shelter to Al-Qaeda operatives.

He has admitted planning the January 14, 2008 attack on the Serena Hotel in Kabul that killed six people, including an American citizen, as well as having planned the April 2008 assassination attempt on Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Earlier reports had indicated that Haqqani was targeted in a massive U.S. drone attack on February 2, 2010. He was again targeted in a drone attack in Dande Darpakhel on February 18, which instead killed his younger brother Mohammad Haqqani. (ANI)

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