A missile strike from a suspected US drone has targeted a compound in a northwestern tribal district in Pakistan near the Afghan border, killing at least 10 people, Pakistani intelligence officials have said.
Thursday’s attack came a day after a drone strike in the same area in North Waziristan, marking the resumption of the CIA-led programme in Pakistan after a nearly six-month hiatus.
The Pakistani government condemned the strikes, with a ministry of foreign affairs statement calling them a violation of Pakistani sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The latest attack, early on Thursday, saw a pair of US drones drop three missiles on a compound and a vehicle in the town of Ghulam Khan, two Pakistani intelligence officials told the AP news agency, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.
Military sources told the Reuters news agency that six people, including four Uzbeks, were killed in Wednesday’s strike around 5km north of Miranshah, the capital of the North Waziristan tribal region, where Taliban fighters are holed up.
Pakistan’s northwest, particularly the North Waziristan tribal area, is home to numerous armed groups – both local and al-Qaeda-linked foreign groups – who often work together, sharing fighters, money or expertise.
Due to stricter rules on the use of drones, diplomatic sensitivities and the changing nature of the al-Qaeda threat, the number of drone strikes had dwindled.
The missile strikes came in the wake of a siege on the international airport in Karachi, Pakistan’s busiest hub. The five-hour attack ended with 36 people dead, including the 10 attackers.
The Pakistani Taliban, who have been fighting to overthrow the government and install their brand of Islamic law, killing thousands of people in the campaign, initially claimed responsibility for the attack on Jinnah International Airport.
An Uzbek armed group, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, also based in North Waziristan, later said it had also played a role in the attack.
The statement appeared to be a sign of increased cooperation between armed groups in Pakistan.
Shahidullah Shahid, a Taliban spokesman, said on Wednesday that the Taliban had worked with the Uzbek group but did not give any details.
The Pakistani government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has tried to negotiate a peace deal with the Taliban ever since he took office last summer, but those talks have so far yielded little results.