US drone strike on Thursday destroyed a militant compound in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt on the Afghan border, killing four militants, local security officials said.
The unmanned aircraft fired two missiles in Dandey Darpakhel village, some seven kilometres north of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district.
The area is considered a stronghold of the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, officials said.”The US drone fired two missiles. Four militants were killed in the attack,” a Pakistani security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Another intelligence official confirmed the drone strike and the death toll.The United States does not publicly confirm its drone strikes in Pakistan, but its forces are the only ones that deploy the unmanned Predator aircraft in the region.
Around 30 drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since elite US forces killed Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden near Pakistan’s main military academy in Abbottabad, close to the capital, on May 2.
The unilateral raid humiliated Pakistan but is thought to have contributed to debate within the country’s military about the merits of traditional support for jihadi groups.
The tense partnership between Pakistan and the United States in the war on terror took a further battering last month, with Washington demanding that Islamabad take action against the Haqqani network and cut ties to the group.
The outgoing top US military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, called the Haqqani network a “veritable arm” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and accused Pakistan of supporting attacks on US targets in Afghanistan.
Islamabad officially denies any support for Haqqani activities, but has nurtured Pashtun warlords for decades as a way of influencing events across the border and offsetting the might of arch-rival India.
The Pakistani military says it is too over-stretched fighting local Taliban to acquiesce to American demands to launch an offensive against the Haqqanis, a battle that not all observers think the Pakistani military would win.