MIRANSHAH: Tribesmen opened fire on a US drone over Pakistan’s troubled tribal belt Saturday where Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud was killed by a drone strike a day earlier, residents and officials said.
Mehsud, who had a US$5 million US government bounty on him, died along with four others on Friday when a US drone fired two missiles at a vehicle in a compound in the village of Dandey Darpakhel, five kilometres north of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.
His death came as a major blow to the militant network and cast doubt over proposed peace talks, with fears of reprisals.
Local residents told AFP that dozens of tribesmen and militants had opened fire on a US drone which was flying low in the same area where the Taliban chief was killed.
“Tribesmen and militants were firing with light and heavy guns for an hour,” Tariq Khan, a shopkeeper in Miranshah told AFP.
A security official in Miranshah confirmed the firing.
The official and residents said Mehsud was buried late Friday along with the four others killed — his bodyguard, driver, uncle and a commander, according to a senior Taliban source.
The usually busy Miranshah bazaar opened oyesterday but shoppers stayed at home.
“Local people are scared. The death of Hakimullah Mehsud has created uncertainty. Everyone is talking about Taliban revenge,” Khan said.
North Waziristan is one of seven semi-autonomous tribal regions along the Afghan border, which Washington considers to be a major hub of Taliban and al-Qaeda militants plotting
attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.
Mehsud’s death represents a success for the CIA’s drone programme targeting suspected militants at a time when it is under intense scrutiny over civilian casualties. — AFP