Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Eight dead in Pakistan drone attack

Eight suspected militants have been killed in a US drone attack in Pakistan, officials said

A US drone strike in Pakistan has left eight suspected militants dead, according to officials.

Pakistani intelligence chiefs say four missiles were fired at a hide-out in a village near the town of Mir Ali in North Waziristan.

North Waziristan is one of the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan that has become a hub of al Qaida and Taliban activity. If confirmed, this is the seventh drone attack in two weeks in Pakistan, demonstrating that the US has no intention of letting up on its controversial campaign.

The attack followed another drone strike on Sunday that killed 10 suspected militants.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials say in that attack, four missiles were fired at targets in the village of Mana Raghzai in South Waziristan, near the border with Afghanistan.

At the time of the attack, suspected militants were gathered to offer condolences to the brother of a militant commander killed during another drone strike Saturday. The brother was one of those who died in the Sunday morning strike.

The American drone campaign, which has accelerated under president Barack Obama, has become a source of deep frustration and tension between the US and Pakistan.

Many Pakistani military commanders are believed to privately support the drone campaign. But among the Pakistani public, where the US is viewed with mistrust, the drone strikes are considered an affront to the nation's sovereignty. The Pakistani government and parliament have repeatedly asked the US to stop the strikes.

The ongoing attacks are also complicating efforts for the US and Pakistan to come to an agreement over reopening the supply routes to Nato and American forces in Afghanistan.

US airstrikes inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, prompting Islamabad to block US and Nato supply lines running through its territory. Pakistan has demanded an apology over the raid and an end to drone strikes as a precursor to reopening the supply lines. But the US has shown no intention of ending the attacks.

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