Suspected US drone strike kills four in Pakistan

April 8th, 2009 - 11:49 pm ICT by IANS  

Taliban Islamabad, April 8 (DPA) A suspected US missile strike killed four Taliban militants Wednesday in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghan border, an intelligence official said.
Two back-to-back missiles fired by a pilotless drone aircraft hit a vehicle in Ganjikhel area of South Waziristan tribal district, a stronghold of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants launching cross-border attacks on US-led international forces in Afghanistan.

“The missile destroyed the vehicle and killed all four Taliban in it, while it damaged the nearby house, leaving five civilians injured,” said an intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The strike came a day after Pakistani leaders told visiting US officials, special envoy to Pakistan Richard Holbrooke and chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, that the drone attacks on its soil were of great concern.

Pakistan says such attacks are counter-productive because they fuel anti-US sentiments and increase public support for militants in the tribal districts.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Tuesday told a press conference after meeting with with Holbrooke that the interests of the two countries converged, but there existed a “gap” as far the use of drone attack was concerned.

“We can only work together if we respect each other and we trust each other,” Qureshi said. “There is no other way, nothing else will work.”

But US authorities say the war in Afghanistan cannot be won without eliminating the terrorist infrastructure in Pakistan’s lawless tribal region.

More than three dozen US airstrikes have targeted suspected militant hideouts in tribal belt since August 2008, killing more than 300 people, including a number of lower-tier Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Dozens of non-combatants have also been killed in the strikes.

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