|About two dozen drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since the bin Laden raid on May 2 [GALLO/GETTY]|
A US drone strike in an eastern Pakistani tribal area has killed at least four fighters, officials have said.
The unmanned aircraft fired two missiles on Tuesday, hitting a compound and a vehicle parked outside it in Miranshah, the main town of the North Waziristan tribal district, a senior security official told the AFP news agency.
“At least four militants were killed,” the official said, adding that two others were wounded. Another security official and an intelligence official confirmed the attack and casualties.
The identity of the fighters was not immediately clear, officials said.
The missiles struck in the main town close to a girls school early in the morning, an AFP reporter said.
Fighters immediately cordoned off the compound and were busy removing debris, he said.
The United States has called Pakistan’s semi-autonomous northwest region the global headquarters of al-Qaeda.
The Taliban and other al-Qaeda-linked networks have several bases in the region, from which they have launched numerous attacks during the 10-year war in Afghanistan.
Although the US does not publicly confirm drone attacks, its military and the CIA in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the unmanned aircraft in the region.
About two dozen drone strikes have been reported in Pakistan since US navy SEALs killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in a compound near Pakistan’s main military academy in Abbottabad, close to the capital, on May 2.
Relations between Pakistan and the US have soured since the bin Laden raid, which was carried out without any warning to Pakistan’s government.
Drone attacks are unpopular among many Pakistanis, who oppose the alliance with Washington and who are sensitive to perceived violations of sovereignty.
The area hit by Tuesday’s drone attack is home to the Haqqani network, a group of fighters who operate in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The US said on Tuesday that it had taken actions aimed at stemming the flow of funds and other aid to Sangeen Zadran, a commander within the Haqqani network.
Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, gave Zadran a special designation under an executive order signed by George W Bush in 2001 in a bid to block funds to suspected terrorists, the State Department said.
“As a result of the designation, all property subject to US jurisdiction in which Sangeen has any interest is blocked and US persons are prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him,” it added.
He is also blacklisted under the UN 1988 Sanctions Committee, which the State Department said requires all UN member states to enforce an assets freeze, a travel ban and an arms embargo against Zadran.
“Zadran is the shadow governor for Paktika Province, Afghanistan and a commander of the Haqqani Network,” it said.