MIRANSHAH – Four suspected militants were killed and two others sustained injuries when a US drone targeted a moving vehicle in Datta Khel area of North Waziristan on Saturday.
Sources said the strike took place in Mohammed Khel village of Datta Khel area in North Waziristan, known as a bastion of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The drone targeted a moving vehicle and fired two missiles, they said.
“The identity of the militants was immediately unclear but this area is mostly occupied by members of the militant commander Gul Bahadur’s group,” said a security official in Peshawar.
Another official on the ground in Miranshah said the vehicle had been driving through a village 35 kilometres west of Miranshah, the headquarters of North Waziristan tribal district, when it was hit. The vehicle was destroyed completely. Drones continued hovering over the area after the strike.
“We have reports that two militants of Gul Bahadur group were also injured in the attack,” he said seeking anonymity.
The security officials said the vehicle was engulfed in flames after the attack and militants cordoned off the area, not allowing anybody to go closer, while they removed the bodies.
This was the first drone strike in tribal belt since violent protests erupted across the country against the anti-Islam film.
Agencies add: The Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in North Waziristan, blamed for some of the deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, is one of the thorniest issues between Islamabad and Washington.
Washington has long demanded that Pakistan take action against the Haqqanis, whom the United States accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul last September and acting like the “veritable arm” of ISI.
Pakistan has in turn demanded that Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pakistani Taliban crossing the border from Afghanistan to launch attacks on its forces.
There has been a dramatic increase in US drone strikes in Pakistan since May, when a Nato summit in Chicago failed to strike a deal to end a six-month blockade on convoys transporting supplies to coalition forces in Afghanistan.
Islamabad and Washington have been seeking to patch up their fractious relationship in recent months, with the supply route reopening, after a series of crises in 2011 saw ties between the “war on terror” allies plunge.
But attacks by unmanned US aircraft remain contentious - they are deeply unpopular in Pakistan, which says they violate its sovereignty and fan anti-US sentiment, but American officials are said to believe they are too important to halt.