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Pakistan condemns US drone strike that killed 4

Last Updated: Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 22:57

Islamabad: Four foreign fighters were killed when a US drone targeted a house in the lawless North Waziristan tribal region on Saturday, ending a month-long lull in the CIA`s spy plane campaign in Pakistan.

The drone fired two missiles at a house adjacent to Barkat Shah Madrassa in Mir Ali area of North Waziristan Agency, security officials said.

The last US drone strike in Pakistan was carried out over a month ago.

The Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the attack, saying such unilateral strikes violated Pakistan`s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The militants killed in the attack were said to be members of the East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement, which is affiliated to a Taliban faction led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur.

Local media reports said the funeral of the militants was held in Mir Ali and their bodies buried at a local graveyard.

Gul Bahadur is one of the most powerful militant leaders in North Waziristan and he is known to have links with foreign fighters. He also has close relations with the Haqqani group.

The Foreign Office spokesman said Pakistan has repeatedly emphasised the importance of an immediate end to drone strikes. Islamabad consistently maintains that drone strikes are counter-productive entail loss of civilian lives and have human rights and humanitarian implications, he said.

Such strikes set dangerous precedents in inter-state relations, the spokesman said. The strikes have negative impacts on the mutual desire of both countries to forge a cooperative relationship, he added.

The strike came just a day after the Advisor to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz, announced that premier Nawaz Sharif will raise the issue of drone attacks with the US on his maiden visit to Washington in September.

During a recent visit to Islamabad, US Secretary of State John Kerry hinted that the CIA`s drone campaign in Pakistan`s tribal areas of Pakistan could end "very soon". However, the US administration later played down his remarks.

According to reports, a total of 565 militants have died in around 400 drone strikes in Pakistan. However, rights groups say many non-combatants have also been killed.


First Published: Saturday, August 31, 2013 - 22:57

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