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A suspected U.S. drone strike killed several Pakistani Taliban militants in North Waziristan close to the Afghanistan border, one militant commander and multiple intelligence sources said on Thursday.

The air strike, which happened on Wednesday, would only be the second drone attack inside the nuclear-armed nation since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.

The drone strike supposedly targeted the Haqqani network local commander, which US accuses Pakistan of harboring in the restive FATA region. Pakistan denies these charges.

Read more: US sale of high-tech Drones will risk destabilizing South Asia…

Pakistan’s reaction to this drone strike

“Unilateral actions, like drone strike, etc., are counterproductive and against [the] spirit of…ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.

Reacting to the US drone strike on a militant hideout in Orakzai Agency on Tuesday, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said here on Wednesday that “unilateral actions like drone strikes” were counterproductive.

“Unilateral actions, like drone strike, etc., are counterproductive and against [the] spirit of…ongoing cooperation and intelligence sharing being diligently undertaken by Pakistan,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.

“Pakistan Army is capable of taking effective measure if actionable intelligence is shared,” he said, referring to the drone strike in the Spin Thall area of Orakzai Agency adjacent to North Waziristan Agency.

Pakistan has been plagued by terrorism since the beginning of its military operations in tribal areas in 2004. The US, has regularly conducted drone strikes in Pakistan. However, in recent years the intensity of drone strikes have gone down considerably.

Pakistani military and civilian leadership consider these drone strikes a major reason of fanning terrorism in the nuclear-armed country. The Pakistani branch of Taliban known simply as the TTP, used these drone strikes as a pretext to target the government and civilian installations in the country, accusing them of supporting the US in its unending war on terrorism.

Pakistan has successfully uprooted terrorist networks from the country and has neutralized a major threat to its internal security. However, these drone strikes still have the potential to disturb the peace attained after a protracted conflict with TTP and other terrorist organizations.

Read more: Trump’s first drone strike inside Pakistan: What does it mean?

US long war in Afghanistan

President Trump soon after taking office deputed additional troops to Afghanistan. He also tested the MOAB in Afghanistan for the first time ever.

This drone strike comes in the wake of deadly attacks against Afghan security forces in which hundreds of soldiers and civilians have lost their lives. The Afghan Taliban and Islamic State in Khorasan province are steadily gaining ground and the security forces seem helpless in the face of this onslaught.

The US under President Obama saw a major withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. President Trump soon after taking office deputed additional troops to Afghanistan. He also tested the MOAB in Afghanistan for the first time ever.

The US accuses Pakistan of harboring Taliban leaders and conducts drone strikes to neutralize the threats emanating from the country. However, neither the drone strikes nor the surge in troops in Afghanistan seems to be working.

The only possible way to get out of the quagmire in Afghanistan is coordination between the US, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. All the regional and local players in the conflict must unite to fight terrorism and make Afghanistan peaceful and stable.

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