From Foreign Policy Magazine, AfPak daily, November 20, 2013
At least seven members of the Pakistani Taliban were killed in North Waziristan on Wednesdaywhen a suicide bomber drove an explosives-laden vehicle into the truck they were traveling in (BBC, ET). According to intelligence officials, Qari Saifuddin, a local Taliban commander, was among those killed in the attack near the town of Mir Ali. It is unclear who was behind the bombing, and no one has claimed immediate responsibility for the incident.
Elsewhere in North Waziristan, along the Bannu-Mir Ali road, at least two Frontier Corps security personnel were killed and seven others were injured Wednesday morning in a suicide attack on their checkpoint (AFP, Dawn, RFE/RL). The area has been cordoned off and a curfew has been imposed, as an investigation into the attack is ongoing. Abu Baseer, a spokesman for the little-known Ansarul Mujahideen group, called several media outlets to say the group was responsible for the attack, which he claimed was revenge for the death of former Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud in a U.S. drone strike on November 1 (AP).
Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Special Advisor on Foreign Affairs, told the Pakistani Senate’s Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Wednesday that the United States has promised it will not carry out any drone strikes in Pakistan while the government conducts peace talks with the militant organizations operating in the country, though he did not provide further details about when these assurances were given (Dawn). According to Aziz, a team of government negotiators had been prepared to hold talks with Mehsud on November 2, the day after he was killed, and the peace process has been on hold since then. Aziz “quoted President Obama as saying that America does not want 70 percent of Pakistanis to hate it, but it was desperate” (ET). Administration officials in Washington have not commented on Aziz’s claims.