[QODLink]
Central & South Asia
'Drone raid' kills fighters in Pakistan
Officials say six fighters killed in tribal area believed to be sanctuary for Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2012 14:25
Pakistanis frequently stage protests against US drone strikes [EPA]

Missiles fired by a suspected US drone have killed at least six fighters in Pakistan's North Waziristan province, near the Afghan border, security officials say.

The attack targeted a compound used by fighters in Spalga village near Miranshah on Thursday, the officials said.

The US says Pakistan's tribal belt provides sanctuary to Taliban fighting in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda groups plotting attacks on the West, Pakistani Taliban fighters and other armed groups.

A salvo of missiles hit a house in Spalga about a week ago as well, killing nine people, including some Pakistani Taliban fighters, intelligence officials said.

The area is dominated by Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a prominent commander focused on fighting foreign troops in Afghanistan.

President Barack Obama last month confirmed for the first time that US drones target Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters on Pakistani soil, but American officials do not discuss details of the covert programme.

The New America Foundation think-tank in Washington says drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in the past eight years.

The attacks have angered the Pakistani public, since many civilians have been killed in the raids.

Pakistani officials regularly denounce the strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty, but the government is believed to have provided support for the programme in the past.

However, Yousuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan's prime minister, told Al Jazeera in an interview broadcast on Saturday that his country had not given permission for such attacks.

"First of all, I want to inform you that we did not allow or give permission to fly drones from Pakistan," Gilani said.

"Drones are counter productive and we have discussed it thoroughly with the US administration."

Gilani said the "collateral damage" from drone attacks was counter productive because it undermined his government's efforts to separate tribes from fighters, and also violated Pakistan's sovereignty.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Anti-government secrecy organisation struggling for relevance without Julian Assange at the helm.
After decades of overfishing, Japan is taking aim at increasing the number of bluefin tuna in the ocean.
Chinese scientists are designing a particle-smashing collider so massive it could encircle a city.
Critics say the government is going full-steam ahead on economic recovery at the expense of human rights.
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
join our mailing list