US drone attacks kill 15 militants in Pakistan (Second Lead)

September 14th, 2010 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, Sep 14 (DPA) At least 15 suspected militants were killed Tuesday in what was believed to be two US drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal region along the Afghan border, Pakistani security officials said.
An intelligence official said an unmanned aircraft fired three missiles into a house in the Shawal Valley in the North Waziristan tribal district, demolishing the compound.

“The house was used by the local Taliban militants as a centre,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The militants and villagers have pulled 11 bodies from the rubble, and the search for more bodies or injured is still going on.”

A second intelligence official confirmed the incident, but put the death toll at 12. He said that most of those who died were fighters from Turkmenistan.

In the second attack, a US drone fired four missiles into a vehicle in the village of Qutabkhel, some six km south-east of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan.

“All four people riding in the vehicle are killed. This is what our local informants have told us,” the second intelligence official said. “They were from the group of Hafiz Gul Bahadur.”

Bahadur is a Taliban leader who has signed a peace deal with the Pakistani government and who, unlike other Taliban groups, does not carry out attacks inside Pakistan.

It was the 11th drone attack this month in North Waziristan, a hub of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters who launch cross-border raids on NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan.

The US does not publicly acknowledge the drone attacks, but authorities in Washington unofficially claim that the drone campaign, which has intensified since 2008, has eliminated dozens of Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s tribal region.

Pakistan publicly condemns the drone attacks, saying they violate its sovereignty and fuel anti-American sentiment, but some analysts say they suspect Pakistani intelligence agents covertly cooperate with the CIA in identifying possible targets.

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