Pakistan: Drone strike kills 5 suspected militants


A US Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport in 2010. Drones have been a key element of the fight against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere.


Massoud Hossaini

Pakistani intelligence officials said missiles from an unmanned American drone hit a militant hideout in the tribal region of Pakistan on Monday evening, killing five militants.

The Associated Press said the missiles hit a village in North Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan.

Security officials said the drone fired two missiles, according to Agence France Presse.

"The compound was located in Khaderkhail village, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Miranshah, which is the headquarters of the North Waziristan tribal district," an official told AFP.

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A security official in Peshawar confirmed the body count.

The area is known as a stronghold of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. CNN noted that it is also believed to be the headquarters of the Haqqani network, a group Washington recently designated as a terrorist organization.

According to CNN, the drone strike is the 35th in Pakistan this year.

AFP said there has been a dramatic increase in such strikes since May, when a NATO summit failed to end a six-month blockade of supply routes into Afghanistan. The supply routes did eventually re-open but drone strikes are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, sparking protests and fueling anti-American sentiment.

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