Conflict & Justice

U.S. drone kills at least 20 militants in Pakistan

American-fired missiles killed at least 20 Islamist militants in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, slamming into a compound in a hotspot just across the Afghan border.

The unmanned U.S. drone strike Wednesday was reported to have killed Afghan fighters from the Al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, considered the top U.S. enemy in eastern Afghanistan, Fox News says.

Two missiles hit the compound close to the town of Miran Shah in North Waziristan, Pakistan intelligence officials said, the Scotsmen reports.

The hideout is the headquarters of the Haqqani leadership and the most infamous militant bastion in the tribal belt, Fox reports.

Fox reports:

"More dead bodies have been dug out of the debris. Twenty-one militants from the Haqqani group were killed and three were injured," a Pakistani security official said.

Another official said the men gathered in a compound used by fighters. "All those killed were Haqqani's men and Afghans, but we have reports that some Arabs and Uzbeks were also present at the time of attack and were killed," he said.

The U.S. does not publicly confirm Predator drone attacks.

Al Jazeera reports at least 23 Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters were killed.

"The dead included local Taliban as well as some Arabs and Uzbek nationals," a Pakistani official in North Waziristan said on condition of anonymity, Al Jazeera reports.

Officials said 14 of the dead were Afghan fighters from Haqqani, a Taliban-linked faction fighting the U.S. in Afghanistan, and six were Pakistani fighters supporting the group, it says.

Washington regards as one of its deadliest foes in the region, the officials told the Associated Press.

The group, founded by Jalaluddin Haqqani and now run by his son, Sirajuddin, has been blamed for some of the deadliest anti-US attacks in Afghanistan, including a suicide attack at a U.S. base in the eastern province of Khost in 2009 that killed seven CIA operatives, it says.