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Pakistan

US drone missiles kill insurgents in Pakistan

Photo: AFP

Fifteen insurgents were killed Tuesday in a US missile strike targeting compounds and vehicles in Pakistan’s tribal region on the border with Afghanistan, a day after at least 15 people were killed in another strike in the area.

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Tuesday’s strike was in Ghulam Khan village, 20 kilometres east of Miranshah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal district, according to security officials.

"Identities of the militants killed in the strike were not immediately known," an official told the AFP news agency, adding that the area is said to be a stronghold of the Haqqani network, which fights foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Other groups known to have bases in North Waziristan are the Afghan Taliban; the Pakistani warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur and his ally Maulvi Sadiq Noor.

Officials said that other strikes carried out by unmanned aircraft killed ten people in Nawab village on the border with Afghanistan.

On Monday, missiles destroyed a vehicle and compound in Mir Ali village, 25 kilometres east of Miranshah, a renowned stronghold of the Pakistani Taliban.

Local security officials said the 15 people killed were mostly Pakistani, rather than Afghan or Arab fighters.

Intelligence officials in Miranshah said the death toll could be as high as 21, and that two vehicles were destroyed by four missiles fired from US drones.

The US says rooting out insurgency being waged from Pakistan’s semi-autonomous tribal belt is vital to winning the nine-year war against the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan and to defeating Al-Qaeda.

The US has not confirmed drone attacks in the area, but the military and the CIA are the only forces deploying unmanned aircraft in the region. Drone missile attacks have doubled in the area this year. More than 100 strikes killed more than 650 people since 1 January, compared to 45 people killed in 2009.

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