US drone attack kills 11 in Pakistan

Attack in North Waziristan is fourth since the military launched an offensive against Taliban fighters last month.

    A US drone attack has killed at 11 people in the Pakistan's northwestern tribal region near the border with Afghanistan, Pakistani officials said.

    The attack on Saturday came in North Waziristan, where for the past month the Pakistani military has been fighting the Pakistan Taliban and other groups.

    The Reuters news agency quoted Pakistan and Taliban sources as saying 11 people, including Taliban and members of an Uzbek group, were killed in the attack in Data Khel, a town about 36km west of North Waziristan's capital, Miranshah.

    The AFP news agency separately reported that 11 people had died.

    An official told AFP the dead included two "important" commanders of the Pakistani Taliban, but he refused to reveal their identities.

    The assault by Pakistan's military was launched after a dramatic attack by fighters on Karachi airport which killed dozens of people and marked the end of a faltering peace process with the Pakistani Taliban.

    Jets and artillery began hitting rebel targets in mid-June and ground forces moved in on June 30.

    More than 400 fighters and 25 soldiers have been killed in the assault so far, according to the military, though the area is off-limits to journalists, making it impossible to verify the number and identity of the dead independently.

    US drone strikes have picked up since the military offensive in Waziristan after a near six month hiatus. Since June 12 at least four drone strikes have been reported in the tribal areas.

    More than 800,000 people have been forced to flee from North Waziristan by the assault, with most ending up in the nearby town of Bannu.

    There have been fears that many fighters also fled, including some from the feared Haqqani network which is blamed for numerous attacks in Afghanistan.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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