US drone attack kills 17 in Pakistan’s Waziristan region
Attack is largest this year and second since PM Nawaz Sharif took office
Protesters against drone strikes gather with a model of a drone outside CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia last week. Photograph: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.
A US drone strike killed at least 17 people in Pakistan’s restive border region early today, Pakistani security officials said.
It marked the biggest such attack this year, and was the second since prime minister Nawaz Sharif took office.
Most of those killed were fighters for the Haqqani network, according to three Taliban commanders and security officials. Two missiles hit a house near the main market in Miranshah, the provincial capital of the tribal region of North Waziristan. The region is considered a Taliban stronghold.
Many were wounded in the attack, local tribesman Kaleemullah Dawar said, but rescuers delayed for fear of falling victim to a second attack, a common tactic with drone strikes.
“It was not possible for the people to start rescue work for some time, as the drones were still flying over the area,” Dawar said.
Mr Sharif, who won elections in May, has called for an immediate end to US drone strikes on the grounds that they are a breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty. The US says it is attacking militants in areas the Pakistani army cannot reach.
A drone strike in May killed the Pakistani Taliban’s second-in-command and six others.