PARACHINAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - A suspected missile-firing U.S. drone killed two Afghan Taliban militants on Thursday in a Pakistani village near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials in the area and a village elder said.
U.S. drone attacks inside Pakistan have become rare over the past few years and the latest strike, if confirmed, would be the first in the nuclear-armed nation since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.
Pakistani officials said a missile struck the two men while they were riding a motorcycle in the northwestern Kurram Agency, part of a lawless ethnic Pashtun tribal belt along the Afghan border areas where militants from both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban, as well as al Qaeda, operate.
“A drone missile struck the motorcycle,” said village elder Haji Zamin Hussain.
The U.S. military command in Afghanistan said its forces had not conducted any strikes in Pakistan. In the past, both the U.S military and the Central Intelligence Agency have conducted drone strikes in Pakistan.
A Pakistani government official identified one of the men killed as Qari Abdullah Subari, a senior commander from the Afghan Taliban. A Pakistani intelligence source said the other man was also a Taliban member named Shakir.
Pakistan’s foreign office spokesman could not be reached for comment.
In its last high-profile drone attack inside Pakistan, the United States in May killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in the southwestern province of Baluchistan.
Afghanistan and the United States accuse Pakistan of harbouring Afghan Taliban leaders fighting to topple the Western-backed government in Kabul.
Pakistan has long denied sheltering the Afghan Taliban.
Reporting by Javed Hussain,; Additional reporting by Jibran Ahmad in Peshawar and Haji Mujtaba in Miranshah; Writing by Saad Sayeed; Editing by Drazen Jorgic