Suspected US missiles kill 3: Pakistan officials

Suspected US missiles struck a militant compound in northwestern Pakistan.

Mir Ali: Suspected US missiles struck a militant compound in northwestern Pakistan, killing at least three people in an area teeming with Taliban and al Qaeda fighters who often launch attacks against NATO troops in Afghanistan.

It was the second strike in as many days in North Waziristan, a mountainous area along the Afghan border where unmanned aircraft operated by the CIA have launched dozens of attacks. The US has urged the Pakistani military to target the area, but has faced resistance.

The compound struck by two US missiles on Sunday was located in the village of Tabbi Tolkhel, a little over a mile (two kilometres) northeast of Miran Shah, the main town in North Waziristan, said Noor Ahmed, the deputy political leader in the area.

There were conflicting reports about how many people were killed in the attack.

Ahmed said tribesmen recovered five bodies from the rubble. He did not know their identities.

Two Pakistani intelligence officials said three militants were killed and five others wounded. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to talk to the media.

The Pakistani military has resisted launching an offensive in North Waziristan, saying its forces are stretched thin from other operations along the Afghan border. Many analysts suspect its resistance is also driven by its desire to preserve historic ties with Taliban militants in the area who could be useful allies in Afghanistan after foreign troops withdraw.

Given Pakistan`s reluctance, the US has relied on missile strikes to target militants in Pakistan`s tribal areas but refuses to publicly acknowledge the existence of the covert program.

But on Sunday, CIA director Leon Panetta said such efforts are responsible for reducing al Qaeda to its weakest since the September 11 attacks.

Bureau Report

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