At least five suspected militants were killed and four others injured in U.S. drone attack in Pakistan's restive north-western tribal region along the Afghan border on Monday, Pakistani media reported quoting security officials and residents in the area.
The pre-dawn raid targeted a house and a vehicle in Hassokhel, east of Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan, one of the seven tribal districts bordering Afghanistan where Taliban and al-Qaeda have bases.
The unmanned aircraft reportedly fired four missiles each in a space of 20 minutes. It was the third drone attack in the region, which is a safe haven for predominantly Uzbek and Arab militants, since Thursday. Identities of the dead were not known.
The Obama administration halted the campaign temporarily in November after a NATO attack on a Pakistani border post that killed 24 Pak soldiers, undermining bilateral relations.
But the U.S. resumed its drone strikes on January 7, and President Barack Obama confirmed that the unmanned aircraft were used to target suspected militants in the country's tribal areas.
More than 100 people were reported killed in similar strikes in Pakistan this year, mostly in the militancy-infected northwest.
In March, a Pak parliamentary committee demanded an end to U.S. drone attacks in the country and an unconditional apology for air strikes that killed the Pakistani soldiers.
The committee urged the government to thoroughly revise the terms and conditions of a transit agreement with the NATO, and strike a new deal before reopening a key supply route to NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
It said that drone attacks are counter-productive because of the loss of valuable lives and property, it radicalizes the local population, and creates support for the terrorists and fuels anti-American sentiments.
The two nations are negotiating to reopen the cargo routes. One area of disagreement involves the amount Pakistan will charge to allow passage. One widely reported proposal is for NATO to pay $5,000 per cargo container, a massive increase over the approximately $250 NATO paid before the tragic incident that worsened U.S.-Pak ties.
Obama has snubbed his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari during the NATO summit he hosted in Chicago last week.
by RTT Staff Writer
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