U.S. drone strike kills 12 in Pakistan
(AP) QUETTA, Pakistan - A U.S. drone strike killed 12 suspected militants in northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border Friday. In the southwest, gunmen on motorcycles opened fire at a roadside restaurant.
U.S. drones fired a total of five missiles at a compound in Miran Shah, the main town in the North Waziristan tribal area, according to Pakistani intelligence officials speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. In addition to the militants killed, six others were wounded, some of them critically, they said.
Those hit were believed to loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a militant commander whose forces frequently target U.S. and other NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan, the officials said. A similar drone attack Sunday killed eight of Bahadur's fighters.
U.S. officials rarely speak publicly about the covert CIA drone program in Pakistan.
The strikes are extremely unpopular in Pakistan because many believe they mostly kill civilians, a claim disputed by the U.S. Pakistani officials regularly denounce the attacks of violations of the country's sovereignty, but the government has cooperated with at least some of the strikes in the past.
That cooperation has come under strain as the relationship between the two countries has deteriorated. Pakistan's parliament has demanded the U.S. end the strikes, but Washington has made clear that isn't going to happen.
The drones were a complication in U.S. efforts to get Pakistan to end its seven-month blockade of NATO troop supplies that run through the country to Afghanistan. Pakistan closed the route in retaliation for American airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops in November. Islamabad reopened the supply line this week after the Obama administration said it was sorry for the deaths.
Friday's drone strikes were the first since the route reopened.
The people killed in the restaurant attack that occured later in the day in the remote town of Turbat in Baluchistan province were Pakistanis travelling with smugglers to Europe through neighboring Iran, said Abdul Razzaq, a government official in the area. Two people were also wounded, he said.
It's unclear what motivated the attack. Baluchistan regularly experiences violence from both Islamist militants and nationalists who demand a greater share of the province's natural resources.
Popular on CBSNews.com
- Iran hangs alleged U.S., Israeli spies
- North Korea fires short-range missiles for second day
- Russia shows accused U.S. spy heading home
- Photos of the Week 21 Photos
- Two imprisoned over killing Malcolm X's grandson
- N. Korea fires 5th projectile into sea
- Plane catches fire on Moscow runway Play Video
- Russia strikes back after expelling alleged U.S. spy