Conflict & Justice

Suspected third US drone strike this week kills 7 in Pakistan



The RQ-1 Predator drone lands at Balad Air Base in Iraq after a sortie on Sept. 15, 2004.


Rob Jensen

Suspected US drones killed seven alleged militants in Pakistan's mountainous tribal area in North Waziristan on Thursday, the Associated Press reported.

The attack is the third drone strike in recent days thave have targeted the region, a Taliban and Al Qaeda militant stronghold. The same day drone missiles killed seven, Pakistani security forces stormed militant hideouts in the Orakzai tribal area, killing another 25 suspected militants, local government administrator Mohammed Saleem told the AP.

Anonymous Pakistani officials said missiles fired from drones in a separate attack hit two compounds in Bobar village in the South Waziristan tribal area, killing 16 alleged militants. The attacks occurred just before midnight on Tuesday, they said, and the compounds were hit around 20 minutes apart.

From 2006 to 2009, over 687 civilians and and 14 al-Qaeda leaders have been killed in Pakistan from drone attacks–almost 50 civilians for every militant killed, according to a Pakistani media report. The CIA claims drone strikes since May 2010 have killed over 600 militants without any civilian deaths.

The BBC reported officials saying that most of those killed in the attacks were Pakistani Taliban fighters. 

More from GlobalPost: The Drone Wars

According to Voice of America, the strikes are the second such action this week. Officials said that another drone strike on Monday left at least seven militants dead in Miranshah, in North Waziristan.

The U.S. does not publicly acknowledge drone strikes in Pakistan, but Voice of America reported that officials have "anonymously confirmed such strikes to various news outlets."

Pakistani officials have publicly disapproved of using U.S. air drones in their country, but secretly have agreed to the controversial CIA-run program as well as seeking increased use over the country’s tribal regions, according to secret cables released by Wikileaks.