A US drone attack targeting a militant compound killed 10 insurgents in North Waziristan on Wednesday, security officials said.
Two missiles hit the compound located in Tappi, 10 kilometres southeast of Miramshah, a military official in Peshawar said.
“The attack triggered fire in the compound and 10 militants were killed,” the official told AFP on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The dead included some foreign militants from Central Asia, another security official said but offered no details.
Some residents in Tappi contacted by AFP said the militants announced over a mosque loudspeaker that funeral prayers for the dead will be held on Wednesday afternoon.
“Almost all the men were burnt beyond recognition,” a villager said after visiting the destroyed house.
“Dozens of militants arrived later and took over rescue work. They pulled out nine bodies,” he said, requesting anonymity.
A Pashtun tribal elder said militants usually avoided gathering, limiting groups to three or four people to minimise losses in the event of a drone attack. But they had dropped their guard recently.
“It has been freezing cold in the last few days and then there were no drones for some time. That’s why the militants started living together and suffered heavy losses,” the elder, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.
President Barack Obama last month confirmed for the first time that US drones have targeted Taliban and al Qaeda militants on Pakistani soil, a programme that has escalated under his administration.
According to an AFP tally, 45 US missile strikes were reported in along the tribal belt in 2009, 101 in 2010 and 64 in 2011.
The New America Foundation think-tank in Washington says drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 1,715 and 2,680 people in the past eight years.
The United States had until now refused to discuss the strikes publicly, but the program has dramatically increased as the Obama administration looks to withdraw all foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 9th, 2012.
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