DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan – A recent U.S. missile strike in Pakistan’s tribal region killed three Egyptians linked to the Haqqani network, including one who played a key role in handling the militant group’s finances, Pakistani intelligence officials said Sunday.
The three men were killed Friday when a drone fired missiles at a car near Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, said the officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media. A fourth person was also killed but has not been identified.
U.S. intelligence believes the Haqqanis are the top threat to security in Afghanistan and that they enjoy the support of the Pakistani army. It wants the army to sever its ties and attack the group, something that Islamabad refuses to do.
The issue is a main cause of tension between the two countries, and Pakistan’s reluctance to cooperate has prompted the U.S. to step up missile strikes against the Haqqani network in the group’s safe haven in North Waziristan.
The U.S. does not acknowledge the CIA-run drone program in Pakistan, but officials have said privately that the attacks have killed senior militant commanders from the Haqqani network, the Taliban and al-Qaida.
One of the Egyptians killed Friday was a 28-year-old man named Abdullah who helped handle the Haqqani network’s finances in Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the intelligence officials. He was known locally as Nadeem.
On Thursday, a missile attack close to Miran Shah killed Janbaz Zadran, who U.S. officials said was a top commander in the network who helped orchestrate attacks in Kabul and southeastern Afghanistan. They said he was the most senior Haqqani leader in Pakistan to be taken off the battlefield.