World’s most feared Islamist fighters 2014
MIRANSHAH: Some of the world’s most feared Islamist fighters are quietly slipping away from a Pakistani tribal region ahead of a long-rumoured military operation, raising questions about the effectiveness of such intervention.
The exodus from the mountainous North Waziristan district on the Afghan border began in late May following Pakistani air strikes, locals have told AFP.
But it has been hastened by the Taliban’s all-night siege of Karachi airport this week, which all but destroyed a tentative peace process.
On Wednesday night two US drone strikes hit the region killing at least 16 in the first such attack this year, fuelling suspicion of coordination between the two countries, with Islamabad’s patience for talks seemingly exhausted.
But as pressure builds for a fuller response to the airport assault, which was joined by militants from Uzbekistan, residents and officials in the district’s main town of Miranshah said the majority of foreign and local fighters had already left.