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Suspected Drone Strike Kills 12 in Northwest Pakistan

Suspected Drone Strike Kills 12 in Northwest Pakistan

Suspected Drone Strike Kills 12 in Northwest Pakistan

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Pakistani authorities say a suspected U.S. missile strike has killed at least 12 people believed to be militants in a remote border region of Pakistan.

Security officials say Thursday's missile strike hit a house in the North Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.

Authorities have not identified those killed, but the missile reportedly targeted militants loyal to Afghan Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani.

The area is believed to be a stronghold for Haqqani's network, which is blamed for attacks in Afghanistan against the Afghan government and foreign troops.

U.S. unmanned aircraft, known as drones, are believed to have fired more than 40 missiles in recent months at suspected al-Qaida and Taliban militants in the region.

Officials say such strikes are believed to have killed several high-level militant commanders, including former Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.

But former security chief of Pakistan's tribal regions, Mahmood Shah, says that regardless of any success, such strikes undermine Pakistan's government.

"The Americans, if they want to be good to Pakistan, they need to transfer the [drone] technology to Pakistan," Shah said.

Shah says the Pakistani military has been successful in its own fight against the Taliban. Five months ago, the military launched a major offensive in and around Swat Valley to the north, and Shah says he expects Pakistani forces to strike in South Waziristan soon.

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Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas tells VOA that the operation would strike at the heart of Baitullah Meshud's network, now reportedly run by Hakimullah Mehsud

"This is the network which is the center of gravity in the area," Abbas said. "It has a huge presence of foreigners, foreign militants in the area, which are also giving training to the locals."

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, U.S. military officials say insurgent attacks killed five American troops in areas bordering Pakistan.