U.S. drone strikes kill 21 in North Waziristan

August 10th, 2011 - 8:01 pm ICT by BNO News  

MIRANSHAH, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) — U.S. drone strikes early Wednesday morning killed at least 21 people in Pakistan’s volatile North Waziristan area, local media reported.

The air strikes were launched at around 2:20 a.m. local time, when the drone fired two missiles against a vehicle and compound in the Kharwani area of Miranshah, North Waziristan, sources told the Nation.

The strikes destroyed both the vehicle and the compound and reportedly killed 21 suspected members of the Haqqani Network. Local tribesmen began rescue efforts, digging out the bodies, but four U.S. drones continued hovering in the area, causing fear of additional strikes.

Earlier in the month, on August 1 and 2, U.S. drone strikes killed four people in South Waziristan, and then another four in North Waziristan the following day.

In the first seven months of the year, 51 U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed at least 443 people, according to a report by Conflict Monitoring Center. The report showed that the two deadliest months were June and July, when 117 and 73 people were killed respectively. One of the deadliest attacks was carried out on July 11 and 12, when four air strikes killed 63 people, the report said.

Controversy has surrounded the drone strikes as local residents and officials have blamed them for killing innocent civilians and motivating young men to join the Taliban. Details about the alleged militants are usually not provided.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said in its annual report that the U.S. drone strikes were responsible for 957 extra-legal killings in 2010. Since August 2008, there have been over 250 drone attacks that have reportedly killed more than 1,500 people in North and South Waziristan.

Pakistan’s Afghan border, which the United States considers to be the most dangerous place on Earth, is known to be a stronghold of the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani Network, considered one of the top terrorist organizations and threats to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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