Kabul: The United States has ‘no confirmation’ on Pakistani al-Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri’s death in a drone strike last week, a US defence official speaking on condition of anonymity said. (Agencies)
A senior Pakistani security official said two days ago there were "strong indications" that Kashmiri who had a maximum US bounty of USD 5 million on his head had been killed in a US drone strike last Friday.
"We have no confirmation that he's dead" on Sunday evening, the official told in Kabul on day three of US Defense Secretary Robert Gates's farewell visit to Afghanistan.
Friday's drone strike targeted a compound in the Pakistani tribal district of South Waziristan bordering Afghanistan in which nine members of Kashmiri's group were killed, according to local Pakistani officials.
The 47-year-old was one of the most feared active commanders of the network that Osama bin Laden founded and has been blamed for a string of high-profile attacks on Western targets, as well as in India and Pakistan.
His killing would likely be seen as a huge achievement in the United States after Navy SEALs killed bin Laden in Pakistan, itself feted as the greatest psychological victory over al-Qaeda since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
But Pakistani officials have stressed that it was impossible to provide 100 per cent confirmation, so soon after the attack, without access to the bodies.
The corpses were burnt beyond recognition and swiftly buried. Militants barred access to the site of the attack in Ghwakhwa in South Waziristan, a militant stronghold despite a sweeping Pakistani offensive in 2009.
Kabul: The United States has ‘no confirmation’ on Pakistani al-Qaeda commander Ilyas Kashmiri’s death in a drone strike last week, a US defence official speaking on condition of anonymity said.