U.S. drone strike kills six in Pakistan
The strike targeted a Taliban compound in North Waziristan
A U.S. drone strike on Wednesday killed at least six militants in a Pakistani tribal region where Islamabad launched a full-scale military offensive last year, security officials said.
The strike targeted a Taliban compound in North Waziristan, one of seven semi-autonomous tribal districts that border Afghanistan and a hub for al-Qaeda and Taliban militants since the early 2000s.
“A U.S. drone fired two missiles at a compound and vehicle in Shawal area of North Waziristan, killing six terrorists,” a senior security official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Another security official confirmed the strike and casualties.
Recent drone attacks by the U.S. have raised speculation that Washington and Islamabad are coordinating their military efforts.
Pakistan, however, officially denounces the strikes as a violation of its sovereignty.
The area is generally off-limits to journalists, making it difficult to independently verify the number and identity of the dead.
Washington pressed Islamabad for years to wipe out militant sanctuaries in North Waziristan, which have been used to launch attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani military launched a major offensive in the area in June and says it has killed more than 2,000 militants so far, while 129 soldiers have lost their lives.
The latest strikes came after Pakistan ramped up its anti-terror strategy in the wake of a December 16 attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that killed 150 people, 134 of them children.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced the establishment of military courts for terror-related cases in order to accelerate trials, and also lifted a six-year moratorium on the death penalty, reinstating it for terrorism-related cases.