Suspected US drone attack kills four in Pakistan

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ISLAMABAD - A suspected US unmanned aircraft killed four people when it fired two missiles into a vehicle Tuesday in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border, intelligence officials said.

The drone strike was carried out in Tapi village, 15 km south of Miranshah, the main city in the tribal district of North Waziristan.

“The vehicle was carrying four people. All of them have been killed. The locals have pulled out their charred bodies,” said a local intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

A second intelligence official who also sought anonymity confirmed the incident and death toll. He said the identity of those killed was not known yet.

The US has stepped up drone attacks against Islamist rebels in North Waziristan in recent months to thwart cross-border raids on NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Even though the authorities in Washington do not publicly acknowledge the attacks, they have said privately that dozens of important Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders are among hundreds of dead in the drone strikes.

Pakistan publicly criticises the drone attacks, saying they fuel resentment and spread anti-Western sentiments due to collateral damage, but its intelligence agencies are believed to cooperate in identifying the targets.

A diplomatic cable published by whistleblower website WikiLeaks has shown a tacit Pakistani understanding with the US government about drone attacks in its tribal region.

WikiLeaks quoted a secret cable sent by former US ambassador in Islamabad, Anne Patterson, that Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had promised to tolerate the strikes.

“We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it,” Gilani told Patterson.

Filed under: Terrorism

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