MIRAMSHAH: A volley of US missile strikes killed at least 25 militants after destroying their compounds in Pakistan’s tribal areas on the Afghan border.
Twin drone attacks hit militant strongholds in North and South Waziristan 12 hours apart, as the United States announced it was suspending more than a third of its annual military aid to Pakistan, bringing relations to a new low.
Early Tuesday, a US drone fired two missiles at a compound in South Waziristan’s Bushnarai area, a senior security official told AFP.
Several missile strikes have recently targeted hideouts in the area, considered a stronghold of Pakistani Taliban commander Mullah Nazir, he said.
Late Monday, at least 12 militants were killed when US drones fired four missiles on a compound and a vehicle in the Gorwaik area of Dattakhel town, in North Waziristan. Reports of up to 16 militants killed could not be confirmed.
“In last night’s drone strike, at least 12 militants were killed and six others were wounded, and in today’s strike the death toll has risen to 13. Two were wounded,” a security official told AFP Tuesday.
Intelligence officials in Miramshah, the capital of North Waziristan, said foreigners were among those killed in the second attack.
Pakistani officials use the term “foreigners” for Al Qaeda-linked Arab, Central Asians and other non-Pakistani fighters.
Washington has called Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwest tribal region the most dangerous place on earth and the global headquarters of al Qaeda.
The United States does not officially confirm Predator drone attacks, but its military and the CIA operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the armed, unmanned aircraft in the region.
But the covert missile programme is deeply unpopular in Pakistan, where anti-American sentiment and relations with the United States have nosedived since US troops killedin the town of Abbottabad on May 2.
Although Pakistani politicians united to demand an end to drone strikes after US Navy SEALs entered Pakistan, seemingly without knowledge of the government or military, to kill the Al-Qaeda leader, they have continued.