U.S. drone strikes kill 25 suspected militants in Pakistan

April 22nd, 2011 - 7:15 pm ICT by BNO News  

MIRANSHAH, PAKISTAN (BNO NEWS) — U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan’s volatile tribal region of North Waziristan killed at least 25 suspected militants on Friday and injured several others, officials said.

Two U.S. drones launched five missiles at a suspected militant compound in Mir Ali, North Wazirstan, around 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Miranshah, near the Afghan border. The strikes also hit a residential house in the Hassan Khel area of Mir Ali.

The targeted house is reportedly owned by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, the political administration of North Waziristan told Pakistan’s the Nation. Bahadur has been described as a militant commander who had been using his house as a hideout.

According to reports, however, among the 25 recovered bodies were three women and five children, but the death toll is expected to rise, as many of the injured are in serious and critical condition.

This is the second drone strike in the area since March 17, when more than 40 civilians were killed in North Waziristan when U.S. missiles hit a residential area where local elders were meeting. Controversy then broke out once again following the air strikes and increased tension within the Pakistan-U.S. alliance.

Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha has met with CIA Director Leon Panetta in the U.S., reportedly seeking an end to the drone strikes, and last week, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said diplomatic pressure would continue in order to stop the U.S. drone attacks.

Last Monday, the provincial Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly approved a resolution that requested the federal government to summon the U.S. envoy to Pakistan, demanding the U.S. to hand over its drone technology to Pakistan, asserting that drone attacks are against the sovereignty of Pakistan, which would not be tolerated.

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’s Haqqani Network, considered one of the top terrorist organizations and threats to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

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.

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