MIRANSHAH, PAKISTAN // US drone aircraft fired missiles in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region yesterday, killing at least four militants, intelligence officials and tribesmen said.
The unacknowledged CIA drone programme, a key element in US President Barack Obama's counter-terrorism strategy, was seemingly paused after a November 26 Nato cross-border air attack killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, triggering fury. The United States resumed the programme on January 10.
In yesterday's attacks, two missiles hit a vehicle in the village of Degan, and another two struck a house in nearby Mohammedkhel village.
Intelligence officials said the strike on the vehicle killed mostly Turkmen, who were possibly members of Al Qaeda. There may be more casualties.
The use of unmanned armed aircraft over Pakistan has been a sore point with the public and Pakistani politicians, who describe them as violations of sovereignty that produce unacceptable civilian casualties.
But despite its public stance, Pakistan has quietly supported the drone programme since Mr Obama ramped up air strikes after taking office in 2009, and even asked for more flights.