Irish Times

US drone kills 10 in Pakistan

A US drone fired two missiles today into a compound in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region on the Afghan border, killing 10 militants, security officials said.

The United States has intensified attacks by its pilotless drone aircraft in North Waziristan, a known sanctuary for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, since a suicide bomber crossed over Pakistan’s border and killed seven CIA employees in an attack in eastern Afghanistan on December 30th.

The latest drone attack came a day after Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi warned the United States that intensified drone attacks or ground operations against Islamist militants in Pakistan could undermine the allies’ relations.

Pakistan security officials said the missiles hit an Islamic school being used by militants as a training camp.

“The attack happened at 7am (2am local time) and we have reports of 10 deaths at the moment. They’re all militants,” a security official who declined to be identified told reporters.

Pakistan officially objects to the strikes along its northwestern border, saying they violate its sovereignty and complicate its battle against militancy.

The attacks have also created fierce anti-American sentiment in Pakistan, a key ally Washington sees as a front-line state in its war on militancy.

US officials say the drones are an effective weapon against militants and the strikes are carried out under an agreement with Islamabad that allows Pakistani leaders to criticise them in public. Pakistan denies any such agreement.

According to a Reuters tally of reports from Pakistani officials, the United States has carried out seven drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan this month, all of them in North Waziristan, killing about 35 militants.

Foreign minister Qureshi issued his warning on ties with the United States after talks with US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke.

“I said despite the partnership that we enjoy … Pakistan feels that it will undermine our relationship, if there’s expansion of drones and if there are operations on ground,” Mr Qureshi told a news conference with Mr Holbrooke.


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