Pakistani fighters reportedly killed in Afghanistan

Intelligence officials say US drone strike left nine dead in Nangarhar, adjoining site of fighting across the border.

    Pakistani intelligence officials say US drone strike has killed at least nine Pakistani fighters in Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.

    Tuesday's drone strike occurred near the site of fierce fighting on the Pakistani side of the border in recent days.

    Pakistani aircraft have been hitting positions in the Tirah Valley in the Khyber region.

    The country's military says it has killed scores of fighters, with the loss of at least seven soldiers on its side, the Reuters news agency reported.

    Two Pakistani intelligence officials confirmed Tuesday's attack, in the Nazyan area of Nangarhar near Pakistan's Khyber Agency.

    They said the nine killed belonged to the Pakistani Taliban and Lashkar-e-Islam, which announced an alliance with the Taliban earlier this month.

    No one tracks drone strikes in Afghanistan, many of them take place in remote regions and are not reported, but Taliban commanders say that fighters there are being increasingly targeted since late last year.

    The attack come amid warming relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, who  have in the past each accused the other of harbouring fighters to act as proxy forces.

    Relations improved after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was elected last year. Pakistan says it is supporting potential peace talks between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban.

    Diplomats hope Pakistan can pressure Afghan Taliban with bases in Pakistan to negotiate. But Pakistan has also said it wants to see action taken against Pakistani fighters with bases in Afghanistan.

    The drone strike came as Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani met his US counterpart, Barack Obama, at the White House to discuss the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

    Ghani is asking Obama to keep more US troops in Afghanistan for longer, to help Afghan forces fight Taliban fighters. 

    The meeting between the two leaders come as groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) try to make inroads in the country by recruiting local Afghans, the AP news agency reported.

    Officials now predict the US will likely leave many of its 9,800 troops in Afghanistan long into next year. The original plan was to cut to 5,500 by the end of 2015.

    SOURCE: Reuters And AP


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