US drone strike kills six in Pakistan: officials

US drone strike kills six in Pakistan: officials
# 22 May 2010 04:53 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. A US drone attack on a suspected militant compound Saturday killed six militants in Pakistan’s lawless northwestern tribal belt, security officials said, APA reports quoting AFP.
The target of the attack was a house used by militants in Mohammad Khel village, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, officials said.
"Two US drones fired four missiles, we have reports that six militants have been killed," a senior security official in Peshawar told AFP by telephone.
Two intelligence officials in Miranshah also confirmed the attack and the death toll.
The house was owned by Khiyali Jan, a local tribeman who had rented it out to a militant group attached with Taliban-linked Afghan warlord Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who is reputed to control up to 2,000 fighters who attack US-led forces over the border in Afghanistan, officials said.
It was yet not clear whether any high value target was hit, Pakistani security officials said, adding that the area was being surrounded by militants after the strike.
The botched May 1 New York bomb plot, which US officials say Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan helped facilitate, has thrown the spotlight on Islamist militant networks dug into the tribal belt outside government control.
Washington has branded the rugged district a global headquarters of Al-Qaeda and the most dangerous place on earth, where officials say Islamist extremists hatch attacks on US-led troops fighting in Afghanistan and on cities abroad.
The covert US drone campaign in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt killed Pakistani Taliban founder Baitullah Mehsud last August.
But the United States has now upped the pressure on Pakistan to crack down on Islamist havens along the Afghan border following the arrest of the New York bomb suspect, Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad.
He was detained on board a plane as it was about to take off for Dubai and has reportedly told investigators he was trained in bomb-making in Waziristan.
General Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, reportedly urged Pakistan’s army chief to launch an operation in North Waziristan, where the United States has increased drone strikes significantly this year.
Pakistani military officials have not ruled out an offensive in North Waziristan, but argue that gains elsewhere need to be consolidated otherwise troops would be stretched too thin.