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U.S. drone ‘kills three militants’ in Pakistan

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MIRANSHAH, Pakistan — A US drone attack killed at least three militants early Thursday in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, known as a hotbed of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants, security officials said.

The drone fired two missiles on a building in the central market of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan near the Afghan border, Pakistani officials said.

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“A US drone fired two missiles on the first floor of a shop in the main market and at least three militants were killed,” a senior official told AFP.

There has been a dramatic increase in US drone strikes in Pakistan since a NATO summit in Chicago ended last month without a deal to end a six-month blockade on NATO supplies crossing into Afghanistan.

A drone attack killed 15 militants in North Waziristan on June 4, including senior Al-Qaeda figure Abu Yahya al-Libi.

Other security officials based in Miranshah and the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar confirmed the casualties in the latest attack, which comes a day after a drone killed four insurgents in the tribal region.

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It was not immediately known if there were any high-value targets killed in the latest strikes.

Washington considers Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.

Distrust over Pakistan’s refusal to do more to eliminate the Islamist threat has become a major thorn in increasingly dire Pakistani-US relations.

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Both sides are at loggerheads over reopening NATO supply lines that Pakistan shut in fury on November 26 when US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Negotiations have snagged over costings, with American officials refusing to pay the thousands of dollars per container that Pakistan has reportedly demanded.

Islamabad initially conditioned reopening the lines on an American apology for the deaths of the 24 soldiers and an end to drone strikes, but neither is likely to happen.

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From 2002 to 2011, the United States paid Pakistan $8.8 billion for its efforts to fight militancy under the CSF, but Islamabad stopped claiming the money after US troops shot dead Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May 2011.

Pakistani authorities whipped up anti-American sentiment after the bin Laden raid and are increasingly vocal in their belief that drone strikes violate national sovereignty.

But US officials consider the attacks a vital weapon in the war against Islamist extremists, despite concerns from rights activists over civilian casualties.

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UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay recently called for a UN investigation into US drone strikes in Pakistan, questioning their legality and saying they kill innocent civilians.

The UN human rights chief provided no statistics but called for an investigation into civilian casualties, which she said were difficult to track.

She said UN chief Ban Ki-moon had urged states to be “more transparent” about circumstances in which drones are used and take necessary precautions to ensure that the attacks involving drones comply with applicable international law.


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White House leaked ‘insane letter’ to Fox host — that makes Trump look ridiculously ‘dumb’

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President Donald Trump was ridiculed on Wednesday after a letter was leaked that President Donald Trump sent to Turkish President Recep Erdo?an.

The letter was sent a week ago, on October 9th.

A copy of the letter, where Trump warned Erdo?an not to be a fool, was obtained by Fox Business personality Trish Regan.

https://twitter.com/trish_regan/status/1184559361638748161

Commentary on the letter was swift -- and brutal.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/chrislhayes/status/1184570895043571713

Can’t tell if parody of dumb guy trying to cover his tracks or real dumb guy who is covering tracks

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‘You can buy the USA’ thanks to Trump: Counterintelligence expert

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Counterintelligence expert Malcolm Nance said during a political discussion Wednesday that the United States of America has clearly become a "pay-to-play" nation under President Donald Trump.

"After 2016, it became clear that the only thing we were really going to look into was Donald Trump's relationships with Moscow.," Nance said in a discussion with SiriusXM Progress host Dean Obeidallah.

"But I think it became pretty clear to the oligarchs that they weren't going after the oligarchs, they were going after Donald Trump and a very specific link to foreign intelligence," continued Nance. "And that meant their money could talk again. You have to understand, these people were doing it to lift these crippling sanctions that Trump fought tooth and nail against."

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Growing chorus of Senate Republicans rebuke Trump over his Syria pullout

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In the wake of President Trump's decision to pull US troops out of northeast Syria, a growing chorus of Senate Republicans are dismissing Trump's threat of economic sanctions against Turkey if it continues its incursion into the region, the Washington Examiner reports.

According to Sen. John Thune (R-SD), attempts to apply meaningful sanctions on Turkey after Trump green lit its invasion are just politicians "grasping to come up with something," adding that the Trump's decision "was a mistake" from the beginning.

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