US drone strike kills 6 in NW Pakistan
At least six people have been killed in the latest non-UN-sanctioned US assassination drone strike in the northwestern tribal belt of Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan.
Intelligence officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the US unmanned aircraft fired two missiles at two cars in the Dogga area of North Waziristan tribal region, killing six.
“The missiles hit two cars that were heading towards the border. Several foreigners were in the cars, but we have no information on their nationalities yet,” an unnamed intelligence source said.
The strike comes two days after a similar attack killed four people in the North Waziristan tribal region.
Tuesday’s incident marked the resumption of the non-UN-sanctioned US drone campaign in Pakistan, which was paused after a NATO cross-border attack killed 24 Pakistani troops on November 26, 2011.
Meanwhile, Pakistan said on Thursday it can never condone violation of its sovereignty by the US drone strikes.
“Our position on drone attacks has always been very clear. We are of the view that strategic disadvantages outweigh tactical advantages of drone strikes,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit said.
He added that winning the hearts and minds of the people is crucial to win against violent extremism and this cannot happen if the collateral damage continues.
“Then there is the issue of violation of our sovereignty which we can never condone,” Basit said.
The US regularly carries out attacks by unmanned aircraft on Pakistan’s tribal regions, claiming the airstrikes target pro-Taliban militants. But locals say civilians are the main victims of the non-UN-sanctioned US strikes.
The aerial attacks, initiated by former US President George W. Bush, have escalated under President Barack Obama.
While the US government has always declined to publicly discuss its aerial attacks in Pakistan, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta admitted last October the US is fighting a war in Pakistan by using the drones.