Pakistan Army: 12 Militants Killed in Recent Fighting
Pakistan Army: 12 Militants Killed in Recent Fighting

Two suspected U.S. missile strikes in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal region bordering Afghanistan killed at least 12 militants Tuesday.

Local officials say that in the first attack in South Waziristan, missiles fired from an unmanned aircraft hit the compound of Taliban commander Irfan Mehsud, killing at least five militants and wounding six others. 

They say the compound, located some 60 kilometers north of the region's main town of Wana, was completely destroyed in the strike.

Hours later, another missile hit militants associated with the al-Qaida-linked network of Taliban leader Jalaluddin Haqqani in neighboring North Waziristan.  Officials say seven insurgents were killed in that attack.

The region is a known hotbed for Taliban and al-Qaida militants responsible for attacks in Pakistan, as well as Afghanistan.

Officials blame Mehsud's militant network for attacks against Pakistan's government and NATO supply lines.  Militant strongholds in the tribal regions also are believed to serve as bases for launching attacks against foreign troops in Afghanistan.

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.

While Pakistani officials routinely denounce the drone strikes as violations of the country's sovereignty, Pakistan's military and intelligence agencies are believed to provide information and support for the operations. 

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.