US missiles kill 6 in northwest Pakistan


A U.S. missile strike on a moving vehicle killed at least six people near the Afghan border Saturday, two Pakistani intelligence officials said.

The officials said the slain men were traveling in the vehicle when missiles struck it in the Spin Wam area of the North Waziristan tribal region.

The identity and nationality of the slain men was not immediately known.

The two intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters, said their agents were trying to get more details.

Although U.S. authorities often target militants and militants facilities there, the latest strike came a day after four missiles struck a convoy of militants in the town of Ghulam Khan in the region.

More than 110 such strikes, carried out by unmanned drones, were launched in 2010 — more than double as compared to 2009. Nearly all have hit North Waziristan, a hide-out for local and foreign insurgents who target U.S. and NATO troops in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s government and the country’s opposition protest the missile strikes, saying they violate the country’s sovereignty and anger tribesmen whose support it needs to fend off extremists. But Islamabad is widely believed to secretly support the attacks and provide intelligence for at least some of them.

U.S. officials rarely discuss the covert, CIA-run missile program. Privately, however, they say it is a crucial tool and has killed several top militant leaders. They also say the drone-fired strikes are very accurate and usually kill militants while limiting civilian deaths. AP



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