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12 Killed In Suspected U.S. Drone Attacks In Northwestern Pakistan

Drone

At least twelve people, including militants, have been killed in two separate suspected U.S. drone attacks on a suspected militant compound in northwestern Pakistan, said officials and news reports on Wednesday.

The drone attacks reportedly targeted a suspected Taliban training center located in the Sanazala area of the Dattakhel subdivision of the North Waziristan region, close to the border with Afghanistan. If confirmed, Wednesday's drone strikes were the fourth and fifth such attacks in less than a week.

According to officials, five people were killed in the first drone attack on the suspected militant compound. Seven more people were killed in the second strike, which came hours later as survivors of the first strike were searching for bodies of victims killed in the earlier attack.

There has been a notable increase in U.S. drone attacks ever since Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a similar U.S. missile strike in South Waziristan on 5th August. The tribal areas of North and South Waziristan are the strongholds of al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

U.S. forces in Afghanistan often use unmanned drone aircraft to target militants in Pakistan's tribal region along the Afghan border. Though the U.S. military does not confirm drone attacks, the American armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operating in Afghanistan are believed to be the only entities capable of deploying drones in the region.

The U.S. missile strikes on Taliban militants inside Pakistan is a very sensitive issue in the country and the Pakistani government has protested strongly against such cross-border missile attacks in the past. The Pakistani government says that such attacks violate the country's sovereignty.

In recent months, the Pakistani government has urged Washington to provide Islamabad with drone technology to enable its armed forces to tackle Taliban militants in the border regions with Afghanistan. Pakistani leadership insists that the cross-border missile attacks from Afghanistan are counter productive, and promotes anti-American sentiments in Pakistan as they end up killing civilians along with targeted militants.

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