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US drones are pounding Pakistan's North Waziristan. Here's why.

US drones have stepped up bombing raids to combat new alliances cropping up between disparate militants coming to Pakistan's North Waziristan region.

Members of the 11th Reconnaissance Squadron from Indian Springs, Nev., perform pre-flight checks on the Predator unmanned aerial vehicle prior to a mission, in this 2001 file photo shot at an undisclosed location. US drones like this one are being used in bombing raids over the North Waziristan tribal area in Pakistan.

Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Handout/File

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After a CIA Predator drone fired a missile in the village of Issori in North Waziristan last month, Jamshed Khan and other tribesmen rushed to the mud home that was the target. Mr. Khan recalls that as the tribesmen started to remove bodies, a group of men drove up, offered prayers for the victims, and left.

The tribesmen say the visitors were well known: Some belong to Al Qaeda and some are the followers of powerful leader Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who once had ties to Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the main Taliban umbrella group there.

Thousands of TTP militants fled here after last year’s military crackdown in South Waziristan, adding to the already mixed crowd of militants seeking shelter there post-9/11. And despite diverse nationalities, they appear able to work in sync.

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“Our bonding force is our common cause of waging jihad in Afghanistan,” says Azam Tariq, TTP spokesman. Their ultimate goal, he says, is to implement sharia law. “Then why wouldn’t we be united?”


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