A second round of missile strikes by suspected U.S. drones has killed at least 11 more Taliban, including senior commanders, a day after strikes killed 20 militants in the southeastern border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, officials said.
Baseer Khan Wazir, the top administrative official in the Kurram Agency, part of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas, told Reuters on October 17 that the drones fired on Taliban hideouts and killed at least 31 people over two days.
Taliban sources told Reuters that 24 members of the extremist Haqqani network, which is based in Pakistan and allied with the Taliban, were killed in drone strikes over two days, including some commanders.
An Afghan official told the Associated Press that the latest drone strikes on October 17 killed 35 Taliban fighters, including a commander of the Pakistani Taliban, Abu Bakr, and other senior insurgents.
Abdullah Asrat, spokesman for the governor of Paktia Province, told AP that another 15 militants were wounded in the strikes.
Mujeeb Rahman Chamkani, a lawmaker from Paktia, told AP that the latest strikes occurred as the Taliban were collecting the bodies of the 20 militants killed the previous day.
Intelligence officials said the drone strikes had targeted the Haqqani network and Bakr. They said the large number of militants present in the compound struck on October 16 showed the site was a main center for Haqqani network militants in the area.
The latest drone strikes came after attacks by Taliban suicide bombers killed at least 74 people on October 17. Most of the deaths from the bombings occurred in the southeastern provinces of Paktia and Ghazni.
Afghan Deputy Interior Minister Murad Ali Murad told a press conference in Kabul that the string of attacks, including one in western Farah Province that killed at least three people, were the "biggest terrorist attacks this year."
Many policemen as well as civilians were killed in the suicide bombings, which came one day after four nations sought to revive stalled peace talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban in Muscat, Oman, despite a boycott by the militant group.
Afghanistan's Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah in an interview with RFE/RL on October 17 vowed "a complete investigation" into the suicide bombings.
With reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, AP, Reuters, dpa, and AFP