U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, early Friday, killed at least 6 people. Although, the identity of those killed was not immediately known, reports quoted a security official saying they are all Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani militants.
A U.S. drone fired two missiles into a compound in northwest Pakistan, along the Afghan border. The attack took place in Dargah Mandi, about 10 kilometres from Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan tribal district.
The missiles hit an area which is a known stronghold of the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani network. Hence, official suspect those killed in the attack could be Haqqani fighters.
"It was a US drone strike. Six militants were killed, the death toll may rise," one security official in Miranshah, was reported saying.
However, reports say, senior official in Peshawar were not clear about the identities of those killed.
The government in Pakistan has repeatedly objected to U.S. use drones to strike at suspected terrorist locations within the country, terming it as a violation of its sovereignty. They allege that the missiles kill indiscriminately, and following international outcry, their use has been decreased in recent months.
Earlier this year, the U.N. set-up a dedicated investigation team, mandated to examine the legality of drone strikes that have killed several civilians, in so-called, "targeted" counter-terrorism operation.
The head of the U.N. team Ben Emmerson, the Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism had in March visited Pakistan and said that the drone strikes violated Pakistan's sovereignty. He has been critical of the U.S. failure to establish effective monitoring process.
Meanwhile, human rights groups in Australia have Australia have demanded that the U.N. expand its investigation scope to include Australia's role in the deadly U.S. drone strikes." rel="nofollow" target="_blank">demanded that the U.N. expand its investigation scope to include Australia's role in the deadly U.S. drone strikes.
Report suggest, drone strikes have killed at least 3000 people in the past 10 years.
The U.S. argues that that these strikes have helped in decimating senior ranks of militant groups and terrorist networks.
Notwithstanding, Pakistan's objections about Drone attacks, the U.S. considers them a critical means to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants.
Importantly, during his visit to Pakistan in Aug, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had said that, drone strikes could end "very soon" as the threat of militancy recedes.
Meanwhile, a report in the Telegraph, quoting secret intelligence documents, said, al-Qaeda has established cells of engineers to find and exploit weaknesses in American drones, as part of an attempt to stem the heavy losses inflicted on its terrorist networks.
Referring to documents leaked by Snowden to Washington Post, the report says, in July 2010, a US spy agency intercepted communications suggesting senior al-Qaeda leaders had sent a guide to operatives around the world advising on how to "anticipate and defeat" unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
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