Suspected US Drone Attack Kills 11 in Pakistan

Posted June 20th, 2011 at 11:30 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistani officials say U.S. drones fired missiles at a vehicle and house in northwest Pakistan, killing at least 11 militants, including Afghans.

Monday's rare attack in the Kurram tribal region was said to have killed members of the Haqqani network, which has been attacking NATO and Afghan forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

The United States has increased its use of drone strikes against Taliban and al-Qaida militants in Pakistan's northwest tribal areas since the May 2 killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden — but most of the attacks have been in North and South Waziristan and not Kurram.

The Haqqani network is reported to have brokered a deal with local tribesmen in Kurram to allow the militants to cross through the area on their way to Afghanistan, and avoid drone strikes in North Waziristan.

U.S. officials have never publicly acknowledged the use of pilotless aircraft to conduct strikes against militants in Pakistan. The attacks are a source of friction between the two countries.

On Monday, more than 1,000 tribesmen demonstrated against the drone attacks in Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan. The demonstrators shouted “death to America” and vowed to continue their protest until the missile strikes are halted.

Elsewhere in the tribal areas, officials say militants attacked the homes of two anti-Taliban tribal elders in Mohmand, killing at least four people and wounding several others.

Pakistani authorities say one of the elders was wounded in the early Monday attack.

And in the Lower Dir tribal area, police Monday said they have detained a 9-year-old girl who was wearing a suicide vest and told to blow up a security checkpoint.

The young girl told reporters at a news conference that she was abducted from the northwestern city of Peshawar on Saturday. She said her captors strapped the bomb on her and dropped her off at the checkpoint near Timergarah, the main town in Lower Dir. Police say the girl was wearing eight kilograms of explosives when she was taken into custody.

Authorities are trying to confirm the girl's story and search for her captors.

Suicide bombings carried out by young girls or women are extremely rare in Pakistan.

In Pakistan's southwest, a car bomb killed at least one person and wounded 12 others Monday on the outskirts of the Baluchistan provincial capital, Quetta.