US drone in Pakistan kills 10 suspected militants

2012-06-03 13:04

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — An American drone strike in the frontier tribal areas of Pakistan killed 10 suspected militants Sunday, Pakistani officials said as the U.S. pushes ahead with its drone campaign in the face of Pakistani demands to stop.

It was the sixth American drone strike over the last two weeks and emphasized the importance the U.S. government puts on the drone campaign, which it considers to be a vital tool in the war against al-Qaida and the Taliban.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials say four missiles were fired at the village of Mana Raghzai in South Waziristan near the border with Afghanistan on Sunday morning.

At the time of the attack, suspected militants were gathered to offer condolences to the brother of a militant commander killed during another American unmanned drone attack on Saturday. The brother was one of those who died in the Sunday morning attack. The Pakistani officials said two of the dead were foreigners, and the rest were Pakistani.

The American drone campaign has been a source of deep frustration and tension between the U.S. and Pakistan.

Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. stepped up its drone campaign in the Pakistani border areas as a way to combat al-Qaida and Taliban fighters from using Pakistan as a base for attacks against American and NATO forces in Afghanistan. However, the number of drone attacks has eased in recent years.

Secretly, many Pakistani military commanders are believed to support the drone campaign. But among the Pakistani public, where the U.S. is viewed with mistrust, the drone strikes are considered an affront to their sovereignty.

The Pakistani government and parliament has repeatedly asked the U.S. to stop the drone strikes.

The ongoing attacks are also complicating efforts for the U.S. and Pakistan to come to an agreement over reopening the supply routes to NATO and American forces in Afghanistan. American airstrikes inadvertently killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November, prompting Islamabad to block U.S. and NATO supply lines into Afghanistan.

Pakistan has demanded an apology over the raid and an end to drone strikes against militants along the Afghan border as a precursor to reopening the supply lines. But the U.S. has shown no intention to ending the attacks.

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Associated Press writer Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan contributed to this report.

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