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Central & South Asia

Drone strikes claim lives in Pakistan

Two attacks leave at least eight people dead in North Waziristan as ex-US general cautions against tactic's overuse.
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2013 15:22
Both attacks took place near the town of Mir Ali, in the North Waziristan tribal agency [Reuters]

At least eight people have been killed in two suspected US drone attacks in Pakistan's northwestern tribal areas, security officials say.

Both attacks took place in the Mir Ali area of the North Waziristan tribal district in the early hours of Tuesday.

In Khiderkhel, eight missiles were fired at a compound, killing at least four people, security sources told Al Jazeera. In Essakhel, meanwhile, two missiles were fired, killing at least three people.

The two attacks happened within an hour of each other. The identity of those killed could not be immediately confirmed. The US, however, claimed that an al-Qaeda operative was among those killed.

The latest drone attacks come as a retired US general and former head of ISAF's operations in Afghanistan cautioned that the overuse of such tactics could jeopardise US foreign-policy goals.

General (retd) Stanley McChrystal said on Monday that drones had helped US troops but were hated around the world and that their overuse could harm American security in the long-term.

There has been an increase in recent weeks in the frequency of US drone atatcks in Pakistan. Last week, Mullah Nazir, a supporter of attacks on US troops in Afghanistan, was killed in such an attack.

The covert US drone strikes are publicly criticised by the Pakistani government as a violation of sovereignty but American officials believe they are a vital weapon.

Legal lobby group Reprieve estimates that up to nearly 900 civilians were among the 2,621 to 3,442 people killed by drones in Pakistan since 2004.

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