A suspected US drone has fired four missiles at a vehicle carrying Uzbek and local fighters in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, killing 10 of them, Pakistani officials said.
The missiles hit the moving vehicle when it was about 500 metres away from the Afghan border in the Pakistani border town of Datta Khel in North Waziristan, the intelligence officials said.
Both Uzbek and local fighters were among the 10 men killed, the officials said, adding that authorities were trying to get more details. The officials spoke to the Associate Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.
US drones are often considered to target armed groups in North Waziristan, which is home to local and al-Qaeda-linked fighters who carry out attacks on both sides of the porous border.
The strikes are extremely contentious in Pakistan, where many consider them a violation of the country’s sovereignty and express concern over the killing of civilians. The Foreign Office condemned the latest strikes in a statement, saying they were unnecessary given Pakistan’s own massive ground operation against fighters in the region, which was launched in June.
The military says it has killed over 1,000 fighters since launching the long-awaited operation in North Waziristan on June 15, but such claims are difficult to verify independently because of the remoteness and the inaccessibility of the region.