US missile strike kills five militants in Pakistan

By Agence France-Presse
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 10:14 EDT
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PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A US missile strike targeting a compound killed five militants in a Pakistani tribal region near the Afghan border on Tuesday, security officials said, updating an earlier toll of four.

The strike took place in Landidog village, 20 kilometres (12 miles) west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan tribal region.

“A US drone fired two missiles targeting a compound, killing five militants,” a senior Pakistani security official told AFP.

He said that militants were using the compound owned by a local tribesman named as Fazal Karam.

Another security official confirmed the attack and casualties but said the “identities of those killed in the strike were not yet known”.

It was not immediately clear if there were any high-profile victims in the latest drone strike on the tribal areas, which are close to the Afghan border and a key battleground in the fight against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The United States does not confirm drone attacks, but its military and its Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy them in the region.

The US strikes are deeply unpopular among the Pakistani public, who see foreign military action on Pakistani soil as a violation of national sovereignty.

Missile attacks doubled in the tribal areas last year as the covert campaign was stepped up, with more than 100 drone strikes killing over 670 people in 2010 compared with 45 strikes that killed 420 in 2009, according to an AFP tally.

Pakistan tacitly cooperates with the bombing campaign, which US officials say has severely weakened Al-Qaeda’s leadership and killed a number of high-value targets, including the former Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud.

Despite pressure from Washington, Pakistan has stalled on launching a ground offensive in North Waziristan, saying its troops are overstretched.

Agence France-Presse
Agence France-Presse
AFP journalists cover wars, conflicts, politics, science, health, the environment, technology, fashion, entertainment, the offbeat, sports and a whole lot more in text, photographs, video, graphics and online.
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