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Asia-pacific

US drone strike kills Taliban militants near Afghan border

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-05-09

At least six Taliban were killed by missiles fired from a US drone aircraft in the North Waziristan region on Sunday, Pakistani officials said. While Pakistan helps the US army identify Taliban targets, Islamabad publicly objects to drone strikes.

REUTERS - U.S. drone aircraft fired two missiles into a Taliban compound in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Sunday, killing at least six militants, Pakistani security officials said.

 
It was the second drone missile strike on militants in northwest Pakistan since a failed bid to set off a car bomb in New York’s Time Square last weekend.
 
The attack was in Dattakhel village, about 60 km (40 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, a hotbed for al Qaeda and Taliban militants on the Afghan border.
 
“The compound has been destroyed completely. It’s been cordoned off by Taliban and we got information that they’ve recovered at least six bodies,” said an intelligence agency official in the region, who declined to be identified.
 
A senior security official put the death toll at 10, while another said nine militants had been killed. There was no information about the identity of those killed, they said.
 
Some pilotless aircraft were still flying over the area, a villager told Reuters by telephone.
 
Pakistan publicly objects to attacks by CIA pilotless aircraft, saying they are a violation of its sovereignty and fuel anti-U.S. feelings, which complicate Pakistan’s efforts against militancy.
 
Unofficially, however, analysts say Pakistan is cooperating with the United States in identifying at least some of the militant targets attacked by the drones.
 
Last Monday, three militants were killed in a similar strike in North Waziristan.
 
The previous day, Pakistani Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud, who was reported to have been killed in a drone strike in January, appeared in Internet videos threatening suicide strikes in the United States.
 
Last year, a drone killed Pakistani Taliban chief
Baituallah Mehsud, who was accused of assassinating former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, in South Waziristan near the Afghan border.
 
The United States, struggling to stabilise Afghanistan, stepped up its missile strikes in Pakistan’s northwest after a Jordanian suicide bomber killed seven CIA employees at a U.S.  base across the border in the eastern Afghan province of Khost in December.
 
Most of the attacks this year have been in North Waziristan.
 
Pakistan is investigating whether a Pakistani-American arrested over a botched plot to bomb New York’s Times Square met Pakistani Taliban leaders in their stronghold in the northwest, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday.
 
Pakistani investigators were trying to verify information provided by the United States that the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, 30, had visited South Waziristan, he said.
 
The Pakistani Taliban last Sunday claimed responsibility for the attempted car bomb attack the previous day, but a spokesman for the militants on Thursday denied links with Shahzad.
 
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said ally Pakistan had been cooperating on the investigation.
 
But she also said the United States had warned Pakistan of “severe consequences” if a successful attack in America was traced back to Pakistan.

 

Date created : 2010-05-09

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