Suspected US drone attack kills 13 in Pakistan


Islamabad : A suspected US missile strike on a militant hideout early Saturday killed at least 13 people and injured several more in Pakistan’s tribal region bordering Afghanistan, an intelligence official said.

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Three missiles fired apparently from a pilotless US drone aircraft destroyed the home of a local Taliban leader Tariq Khan in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan.

“Residents have so far pulled out 13 bodies from the rubble,” said an intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“According to the information we have received from the locals some foreigners are among the dead,” he added.

The term “foreigner” is used to refer to Al Qaeda fighters of Arab or Central Asian origin.

However, Malik Mumtaz, a tribal elder in North Waziristan said by telephone that three women and four children also died in the pre-dawn attack.

US forces in Afghanistan have carried over three dozen drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal belt since August 2008, killing more than 300 people, including some lower-tier Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

But the attacks have also killed many civilians, creating public outrage in the Islamic country.

Islamabad is a key US ally but it officially opposes the US missile attacks on its soil, calling them a violation of sovereignty and counter-productive.

But US authorities say the war in Afghanistan cannot be won without eliminating the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region, from where the militants launch cross-border attacks on international forces.