US drone attack kills 14 militants in Pakistan (Lead)

March 13th, 2009 - 12:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, March 13 (IANS) At least 14 suspected militants have been killed in a US drone attack on a Taliban training centre in northwestern Pakistan, a media report said Friday.
More than 40 people were also injured in the late Thursday attack in Barjo village of the Kurram tribal district that borders the Afghan province of Khost, The News reported Friday.

“The drone fired two Hellfire missiles on a house where a number of militants were residing. Most of the victims were local tribal, Afghan Taliban and foreign militants,” an official in Sadda, the headquarters of Kurram agency, said on condition of anonymity.

Witnesses also said that three US spy planes were seen flying over the region at the time of the attack.

Meanwhile, sources close to the Taliban told the newspaper that none of their important commanders was present in the house at the time of the attack.

“Dozens of militants cordoned off the area soon after the house was struck by missiles and started retrieving the bodies,” another source told the News. “The bodies of most of the victims were mutilated and were beyond recognition,” he added.

Following the attack, a militant commander telephoned The News and confirmed the missile strike, but claimed that only eight of their men were killed in the attack.

Thursday’s incident was the second drone attack in Kurram tribal region in recent days. On Feb 16, 30 people, mostly militants, were killed and several others injured in a drone attack.

US forces, who said they are running out of patience over Pakistan’s failure to eliminate militant hideouts, have carried out about 36 such attacks in the past four months, killing dozens of Taliban and suspected Al Qaeda militants.

Pakistan, a key ally of US in its war on terror, has been protesting against the air strikes, saying they violate the country’s sovereignty and fuel public anger.

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